From the Commanding General

To the Soldiers, Families and Civilians of the 108th Training Command, I thank you for the incredibly warm welcome you extended to me and my Family. Karen, Taylor, Thomas and I were humbled by the level of care and effort you took to make our transition so smooth. Moreover, I thank Maj. Gen. Purser for her extraordinary support in helping me to assume command of arguably the finest training command within the United States Army. Thanks Leslie.             

The reputation of the 108th Training Command including the 95th Training Division, 98th Training Division and the 104th Training Division is far reaching and notable. Drawing on nearly 70 years of service, and in the case of the 98th almost 100 years, there is a legacy of service which is simply remarkable. And the torch of service has been passed to each of us by the giants who have gone before us. This responsibility is not to be taken lightly as we begin to ascend to the next level of excellence as we Plan, Prepare and Provide ready forces to the United States Army.

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From the Command Sergeant Major

At the last Command Sergeant Major Conference I attended, one of the command sergeants major spoke about the conditions of some of the USAR centers. He also provided pictures to support his findings.

Broken equipment piled up, garbage along fence lines in view of the public, kitchens that even a bug wouldn’t want to eat in, work spaces and desks filled with clutter and a bunch of other issues which are not consistent with our Army Values and our way of life.

I was relieved that none of these reserve centers belonged to the 108th Training Command or any of our subordinate units, but the bottom line is we are all responsible to ensure every Soldier and every piece of equipment that belongs to the U.S. Army is well maintained and completely operational no matter what unit they belong to or what patch they wear on their shoulder. That is a big part of readiness and every one of our jobs and responsibilities.

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Growing the Warrant Officer Corps

The USAR Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Russell Smith, has designated warrant officer recruiting as the number one priority for USAR Warrant Officers.

As of this writing, the USAR has 1057-TPU and 23-AGR Warrant Officer vacancies. Of those vacancies, 716 are in the ranks of WO1/CW2. Within the 108th Training Command (IET), there are 70 warrant officer vacancies. This number does not account for Warrant Officer Candidates selected for positions within the command but are not yet assigned. While the command generally has between five to ten WOCs per year, not all candidates successfully complete Warrant Officer Candidate School. Likewise, throughout the USAR, warrant officer strength is like a revolving door. We gain candidates as much as we lose warrant officers due to normal attrition and so our overall strength remains around 74 percent.

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2015 Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition

FORT JACKSON, S.C.  — In 1972, the Army Reserve selected its first Drill Sergeant of the Year.

On Sept. 10, 2015, it chose its 44th.

During a ceremony held on Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Staff Sgt. Mark Mercer, 95th Training Division (IET), was presented the Ralph E. Haines Jr. award for excellence as the Army Reserve’s top drill sergeant.

For four days, Mercer competed in a head-to-head competition with Staff Sgt. Russell Vidler, 98th Training Division (IET) Drill Sergeant of the Year, for the coveted title.

“I think I’m still in shock. It’s just surreal. There are just so many emotions going through my head right now. It just shows that hard work pays off,” Mercer said.

Mercer takes over for Staff Sgt. Christopher Croslin, also from the 95th Training Division (IET), who won the competition in 2014.

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108th Training Command Welcomes New Leadership

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Leadership has countless different definitions used by countless different people.

But all would agree that good leadership is essential in terms of success for military units.

Leadership was the theme at the 108th Training Command (IET) Change of Command.

At a ceremony hosted by Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, Chief of the Army Reserve, at Victory Field located on Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Sept. 20, 2015, the 108th bid farewell to one great leader in Maj. Gen. Leslie A. Purser and welcomed another in Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen.

“The most important thing we do as leaders is grow other leaders. We take our best and give them a command. That’s why I made her [Purser] a commander and that’s why Mark [McQueen] is coming in behind her as commander of the 108th,” Talley said.

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Defying the Odds, Sele Promoted to Brigadier General

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — With close to 198,000 Soldiers in the Army Reserve today, your chances of ever being promoted into one of the Army Reserves’ 115 general officer authorizations is less than a percent of a percent.

But when you’re Richard Sele, those are good odds to have!

On Oct. 25, 2015, during a ceremony held at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, hosted by Maj. Gen. Daniel Ammerman, United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command commanding general, Sele became the Army Reserve’s newest Brigadier General. He takes over for Brig. Gen. A. Ray Royalty as deputy commanding general of the 108th Training Command (IET), headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“When I think back to where this all started, it’s kind of surreal.” Sele said. “Way back when I was an enlisted guy in Basic Training, I made trainee of the cycle at Fort Leonard Wood and as trainee of the cycle you got to post the Colors during graduation. I remember coming off the stage after the ceremony and my buddy said ‘God you looked like a little General standing there’ and here I am.”

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From the 104th Training Division (LT) Commander

As the Timberwolves move into 2016, we must continue to work as a team focused on accomplishing our mission and taking care of our Soldiers, civilians, and Family members. 

This starts with the establishment of the 104th forward element at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The forward element will better facilitate communication with Cadet Command and enhance our support to the Adjunct Faculty Program and to Cadet Summer Training.   

I have also directed the Inspector General and Internal Review sections along with the new, Chief Systems Officer, Col. Steve Tremblay, to take a comprehensive look at our systems and processes with the goal of improving our business practices. I have specifically asked them to seek out Soldier and civilian input on how to make these work better for us. If you have suggestions, whether at the company, battalion or brigade level, I want your input.   

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Where Soldiering Begins

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Army Reserve Soldiers within the 108th Training Command (IET) fill in the gap for a seamless operation at the 120th Adjutant General Reception Battalion.             

Receiving nearly 45,000 new recruits a year, as stated by Capt. Paul Fosse, Delta Company Commander of the 120th AG Battalion, the mission is to process, motivate and start the transformation of Soldiers prior to going to basic combat training through reception. Reserve Soldiers have played an intricate part of that process.

“The attitude of Army Reserve Soldiers has been consistently positive when they come here, because they realize how important the mission is,” said Fosse. “Without the reception battalion, nothing else happens. Basic Training doesn’t happen, A.I.T. doesn’t happen. It all starts here.

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From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander

With the Holidays upon us and 2015 drawing to a close I could not be more proud of the work that you have accomplished over the year. The division successfully completed its assigned annual missions and increased its drill sergeant strength significantly. To all of you who helped accomplish the division’s mission, thank you. It really does take the entire team and that is not lost on the leadership. And to all of our new drill sergeants, congratulations! You have all contributed to the legacy of the Iron Men of Metz.

I am heartened by your progress along many lines of effort this past year and look forward to building on our successes. Over the next year the division will face even more challenges due to fiscal constraints. In order to be successful over the next year the division will be focusing on three things: Readiness, Drill Sergeant Production and Training Missions. The division needs all of you to assist in this effort.

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Alpha Company Conducts Echo Mission Support

FORT SILL, Okla. — Soldiers from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 354th Regiment, 95th Training Division (IET), along with cross-leveled Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 377th Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 378th Regiment conducted mission support for the annual Echo Mission (Increment 4) in support of 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery, 434th Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, from July 21st through Aug. 8th, 2015.

The 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery is a Basic Combat Training Battalion and has the mission to receive Initial Entry Training Soldiers and conduct Basic Combat Training. The mission of 1st Battalion, 354th Regiment was to augment the 1-19th in the training effort in order to transform civilian volunteers into Army Soldiers.

The USAR Drill Sergeants are held to the same standards as their active duty peers. Prior to being assigned and attached to the batteries within the 1-19th, drill sergeants had to validate their skills to ensure that training would be conducted to standard. This validation ensured that no matter which drill sergeant, active or reserve, a trainee asked questions of or received instruction from, they would be held to the same standards and expectations.

During increment 4 of this Echo Mission, drill sergeants collectively trained over 850 Soldiers across several batteries within the 1-19th, in warrior tasks and skills including Confidence Obstacle Course, Foot March 3 (12K), Night Infiltration Course, Basic Tactical Techniques 2, FTX 3 (first evening/night only), Combatives, U.S. Weapons and Record Physical Fitness test. Additionally, those same trainees received support from support personal, such as training, logistics and command guidance, during the Echo Mission as well.

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Civilian Employers Get Inside Look at Soldier Life

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Civilian employers of National Guard and Reserve service members, as well as Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and the North Carolina Military Support Corporation (NCMSC) representatives, got a glimpse of what life is like for their Soldier employees during a two-day visit to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Aug. 12-13, 2015.

“The last two days here are what is called a Boss Lift and it’s something that the Department of Defense and the Employers of the Guard and Reserve do to introduce civilian employers to a little slice of the military world,” said Col. Daniel Arkins, chief of staff for the 108th Training Command (IET), “And in this case, since the 108th has the drill sergeant production mission and the drill sergeant support mission for the basic training mission, we wanted them to come and see a little slice of life at a basic training unit.”

Arkins also went on to say that the visit to Fort Jackson was a joint effort between the 108th Training Command (IET) and the North Carolina chapter of the ESGR. In addition to the civilian employers, the South Carolina chapter of the ESGR was also in attendance.

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Let’s Go Racin’ Boys

DARLINGTON, S.C. — ‘It’ has transformed over the years from just a sport to a way of life.

‘It’ has but two simple rules: drive fast, turn left.

‘It’ has its own language: echoed by thousands in just three heart-pumping words: boogity, boogity, boogity!

And fans across America argue ‘it’ is the real Great American pastime.

For many, walking trackside at Darlington Raceway can be exhilarating: that oh so familiar smell of burning oil and rubber against the sealed asphalt of the Lady in Black, that familiar roar of high octane Sunoco racing fuel burning through state of the art engines on a mile and a quarter egg-shaped track. Yet, for others it can be burdensome and that’s where the Army Reserve comes to the rescue.

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World War II Veteran Saved by Drill Sergeant Candidate

LINCOLN, Neb. — On 14 Sept. 2015, Army Reserve Drill Sergeant Candidate (Sgt.) Mary “Char” Becker from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 354th Regiment, 95th Training Division (IET), along with Sgt. 1st Class Josey Huffman an Army Recruiter out of Lincoln, Nebraska, were traveling between recruiting events on a sunny Monday afternoon.

While on Highway 34 near Fallbrook, Nebraska, they noticed a slowing vehicle that was veering off the road. Becker and Huffman’s engrained training kicked in and they knew they needed to intervene. Becker later said “It doesn’t take time for us to think about what we need to do. We just jump into action and do it.”

Huffman, driving the car, pulled up next to the slowing vehicle and that’s when Becker noticed what appeared to be an unconscious elderly man behind the wheel. Without regard to her own safety Becker approached the slowing vehicle, exited her vehicle and began to chase the car down.

After the slowing vehicle came to a stop, Becker, a Licensed Practical Nurse (68C) by trade, began assessing the elderly man and providing life stabilizing treatment. A paramedic unit was requested by contacting 911. Becker continued to monitor the man until officers and advanced medical treatment arrived.

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One Station Unit Training

FORT BENNING, Ga. — The Cavalry is a branch known for its high espirit de corp and proud traditions. The mission of the Cavalry One Station Unit Training is to train new recruits to become well disciplined, highly motivated and physically conditioned combat Soldiers in nine weeks. These Soldiers learn basic Soldiering skills to include land navigation, patrolling and rifle marksmanship. They also learn to employ and fire the AT-4 Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher and the M320 grenade launcher.

The Troop Commander has the overall responsibility for the training and discipline of these Soldiers.  Together with the first sergeant, he ensures they are ready to fight, survive and win in combat.

Three of the most important skills these Soldiers have learned while here are physical fitness, the ability to operate and maintain their weapons and discipline.

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Fresh on the Trail

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Rappelling down a 40-foot wall and scaling across a one-rope bridge, Soldiers negotiate their way through the Victory Confidence Tower as two of the Army Reserve’s newest drill sergeants look on. Watching, correcting and instructing the red phase basic combat training Soldiers.

Recent graduates of the Drill Sergeant Academy, Drill Sergeant, Sgt. Augustine Koomson, and Drill Sergeant, Sgt. Timothy Bingham both out of Alpha Company, 3/518th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) in Hickory, North Carolina, are fresh on the trail with their first mission as a drill sergeant in Echo Company 3/60th Infantry Regiment, 193rd Brigade during red phase.

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Thirty-First Annual Army Ten Miler

ARLINGTON, Va. —  For the second straight year, Soldiers from the 98th Training Division (IET) supported the Army Ten Miler held annually in Washington D.C. since 1985, by providing some good old fashioned drill sergeant motivation.

This year more than 30,000 participants entered into what has been called by some as America’s most patriotic race and then took a victory lap through the Hooah Zone where they were met by vendors and spokespersons from military organizations across the country, handing out food, refreshments and Army swag.

Representing the Iroquois Division this year were two of their best, Staff Sgt. Russell Vidler, 98th Training Division Drill (IET) Sergeant of the Year, and Sgt. 1st Class Kristina Martinelli.

This was the first year either of them had been to the ATM. Vidler having been so impressed with the weekend full of events said he would definitely return next year, but as a competitor.

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Family Tradition of Service to Country Marks New Milestone

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Family with over four decades of service to our country marked an important milestone on Oct. 18, when Capt. Mark Williams, one of three men in his Family who have served or are continuing to serve our country was promoted to the rank of major by his father, retired Brig. Gen. Blake Williams.

The tradition began when the senior Williams enlisted in the Army Reserve on Dec., 17, 1971. Starting out as a private, he completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He received his commission after completing the New York State Army National Guard’s Officer Candidate School in 1977. He went on to serve as an engineering officer in a variety of assignments including two tours as a drill sergeant company commander. He was also the first Williams to have a connection with the 108th Training Command (IET).

“I started (there) about 1987, when we moved down from upstate New York (and) virtually I was in that (command) in various units until 2005,” said Blake Williams.

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On Target

ARLINGTON, Tenn. — Marksmanship is a basic Soldier skill; important to every Soldier, and tested annually by regulation. Finding new and rewarding ways to hone marksmanship skills is an important step in maintaining proficiency and developing expertise.

On September 19th, elements of Charlie and Delta Companies, 3rd Battalion 398th Regiment (BCT), 3rd Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), competed in the 22nd Annual Service Rifle competition hosted by Mid-South Guard and Reserve Association. The competition was held at the Memphis Sport Shooting Association, in Arlington, Tennessee- part of the greater Memphis area.   

The competition featured teams of four shooters each, ranked by aggregate score of all shooters from all positions, along with an individual shooter competition. All shooters started with a five-round familiarization fire.

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This We’ll Defend

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — “Drill Sergeants are master trainers, master time managers and master personnel managers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Lamont Christian, commandant of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy. “They become an asset to every command when they return to their organizations, and that’s a part of the drill sergeant charter.”

The change in title from Drill Sergeant School to Drill Sergeant Academy centers on teaching Drill Sergeant Candidates “how to think” versus “what to think”, as explained by Christian. The title change is also due to the fact that there are four schools taught within the institution: the Drill Sergeant Academy, Drill Sergeant Recertification Course, Advanced Individual Training (A.I.T.) Platoon Sergeant Course and the A.I.T. Platoon Sergeant Recertification Course.

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Four Fourteenth Regiment (LDAC) Changes Command

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  — On 12 Sept. 2015, 1st Brigade, 3rd Battalion, 414th Regiment (LDAC) had a Change of Command Ceremony on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Curtis Sand, was succeeded by Lt. Col. Philip Dizon.

Col. Thomas Harper, commander of 1st Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT), conducted the ceremony as the Reviewing Officer. Distinguished guests included Col. Douglas Jones, 104th Training Division (LT) Chief of Staff and Lt. Col. Philip Churchill.

Sand completed an exemplary tour of duty for the 3rd Battalion, 414th Regiment (LDAC). During his command, he successfully managed and conducted three annual training missions in support of Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the Army Training Centers in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Fort Benning, Georgia.

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Army Icon Turns 51

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — From time to time, when you reflect on your military service there are many people, places and events you may have forgotten. But the one person you will never forget is your drill sergeant.

They led the charge in molding and mentoring you into what you are today.

They transformed you from an ordinary citizen into a Soldier with the greatest fighting force the world has ever known.

For everyone in the Army, they’re a symbol of both pride and discipline. They are firm but fair. They are feared but admired.

They are an Army icon, and this year, they turned 51.

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Golden Anniversary Produces 20 Year Mission

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — As the 108th and Fort Jackson, South Carolina already have a long history together, it is only fitting that during the 108th Golden Griffon Anniversary in 1996, the division received a new mission at Fort Jackson.

The division sent the first drill sergeants there to train under the “Echo Mission” concept. The 108th handled this new initiative while still supporting ranges, augmenting Reception Battalion staff, temporarily replacing bands and training officers in the Chaplain’s Basic Course.

Under the new concept, a reserve component company combined with active component companies to form a single battalion in order to train the influx of high school graduates in Basic Combat Training during the summer months. The capability of the Army Reserve was and still is crucial during the summer “surge”, in which thousands of recent high school graduates are scheduled to complete basic training.

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Drill Sergeants Teach D&C to Future Army Leaders

CLEMSON UNIVERSITY, S.C. — More than 100 Clemson University Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets, at the very beginning of their Army careers, got a close-up and personal look at authentic military bearing with a visit from a group of seasoned drill sergeants from the U.S. Army Reserve’s 98th Training Division (IET) Sept. 3. The drill sergeants traveled to Clemson to give the cadets a crash course in Drill and Ceremony – the time-honored practice of moving a unit or individuals in an orderly, uniform manner from one position to another or one place to another.

Drill procedures used by the United States Army today were developed during the Revolutionary War. The purpose of the drill then was to instill discipline. As Soldiers mastered the art of the drill, they began to work as a team and to develop a sense of pride in themselves and in their unit. In today’s Army, D&C is used to accomplish the same objectives -teamwork, confidence, pride, alertness, attention to detail, esprit de corps and discipline.

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National Red Ribbon Week 23-31 October 2015

The “Red Ribbon Campaign” became a symbol of support for the Drug Enforcement Administration efforts to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and educational programs. 

Red Ribbon Week is recognized and celebrated, to help preserve the memory of Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena and further the cause for which he gave his life.

After serving in the Marines, Camarena worked as a fireman for the City of Calexico and attended Imperial Valley College, where he earned an associate’s degree. He joined the Calexico Police Department in 1970, and was later re-assigned to El Centro, California, working as a Narcotics Investigator for Imperial County.

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Victory Starts Here

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — “This wall is the reason you are here,” instructs a Fort Jackson cadre member from the Special Troops Battalion for the 40-foot Victory Tower, as he orients 184 newly-arrived basic trainees from Echo Company 3/60th, 193rd Brigade Army Training Center, to a rappel wall on one side of the obstacle.

Some Soldiers appear stricken with fear, as others seem excited and determined as they all observe demonstrators rappelling off the wall from 40-feet above.

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‘Marksmanship Matters’ – US Army Reserve wins 2 out of 3 at FORSCOM Marksmanship Competition

FORT BRAGG, N.C.  — After thousands of rounds, hundreds of paper targets and even robotic targets on wheels, two U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers shot their way to winning two out of three at the U.S. Army Forces Command Marksmanship Competition, Sept. 21-23, 2015.

Capt. Kirk Freeman and Master Sgt. Russell Moore won top honors in the M4 rifle and M9 pistol categories, respectively. Sgt. Ben Mercer finished second in the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon category. All three men are members of the U.S. Army Reserve Marksmanship Team.

The three-day FORSCOM competition featured 27 marksmen from the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve and the National Guard in events for the M9 pistol, the M4A1 rifle and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, to recognize Soldiers who are beyond expert marksmen. The multi-tiered events challenge the competitors’ ability to accurately and quickly engage targets in a variety of conditions and environments.

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Molding Future Leaders at Clemson University

CLEMSON, S.C. — Twenty drill sergeants, prospective drill sergeants and officers from the Army Reserve’s 108th Training Command (IET) traveled to Clemson University and spent a perfect Autumn day teaching future Army leaders some of the essential skills they will need as Soldiers.

While the rest of their classmates were enjoying another Clemson Tigers victory on the football field, cadets with Clemson’s Reserve Officer Training Corps “Fighting Tigers” Battalion were spending three days “in the field” for their fall leadership training exercise. The event is designed to introduce freshmen and sophomores to Army life, and hone the juniors’ skills for the upcoming Cadet Summer Training mission in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

This is the third year personnel with the 108th have teamed up with the Clemson ROTC to elevate the LTX training and make things real for the cadets.

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First Female Army Reserve Soldier Graduates Army Ranger School

FORT BENNING, Ga. — When Maj. Lisa Jaster walks across Victory Pond Friday at Fort Benning, Georgia, she will secure her role in history as the first female Army Reserve officer to earn the distinctive black-and-gold shoulder tab. However, the 37-year-old engineer and mother of two children, aged 7 and 3, is the third female to graduate the grueling combat leadership course, joining the ranks of fellow West Point graduates and Active Duty officers Capt. Kristen Griest, 26 and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25.

Jaster, an engineer for Shell Oil Co., and Army Reserve individual mobilization augmentee with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Huntsville, Alabama, embodies the dual nature of the leadership attributes and competencies of Army Reserve Soldiers, developed from both their civilian and their military occupations.

“Major Jaster represents the best of today’s Operational Army Reserve -- trained, battle-tested and ready to serve whenever and wherever needed,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command. “The Army Reserve couldn’t be more proud of this outstanding Soldier, and I know Shell Corporation, her civilian employer we share her with, is equally proud to have her in their organization.”

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Drill Sergeants Motivate Soldiers, Tough Mudder Competitors

MONTGOMERY CITY, Mo. — Participants of the Tough Mudder 2015 competition in Montgomery City, Missouri, are getting a unique opportunity to experience a small portion of what it takes to become a Soldier in the U.S. Army.

“We’re doing a fitness challenge for any of the participants that are competing in the Tough Mudder,” said Sgt. Bryan Smith, a drill sergeant with Company C, 354th Infantry Regiment. “It’s a little bit of a challenge, physically, for them to do and see where they’re at and compete against their friends.

The challenge consists of a weighted sled push, pull-ups, low crawl, decline push-ups and weighted sled pull, all in basic training style, complete with a timer and drill sergeants loudly motivating the competitors mere inches away from their faces.

Staff Sgt. Joshua McKee, a drill sergeant assigned to the 3rd battalion, 378th Infantry Regiment, explained the reason for the challenge.

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Inspiring Compassion Outside the Fort Knox Gates

FORT KNOX, Ky. — We’ve all heard heartwarming stories about Soldiers in the United States Armed Forces who befriended animals while deployed overseas, forming deep and enduring bonds. In addition, Soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after returning to the states from their deployments continue to find emotional support and strength by befriending animals.

The fact is, being around animals is incredibly therapeutic, especially in times of discomfort, pain or distress. This being the case, it goes without saying that the companionship of animals has played an integral part of maintaining the emotional welfare of many Soldiers within the Armed Forces.

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Full Circle

TULSA, Okla. — December 1, 2015 will bring a significant life event for Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Sams, 1st Battalion, 354th Regiment, 95th Training Division (IET). On that date Sams will transfer to the Retired Reserve bringing a close to an exceptional 26-year career. 

Sams began his career in 1989 on active duty as a Chemical Operations Specialist assigned to the 4th Battalion, 7th FA and 2nd Battalion, 32nd FA (MLRS), stationed in Giessen, Germany. He served for three years on active duty.

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Strong Bonds Schedule FY 2016 81st Regional Support Command

Which Venue Should I Register For?

Singles Event: Register for if you are not legally married. Free childcare is provided for children ages 0-6 (must be registered in DEERS). You may NOT bring a significant other or a friend. If you would like to bring a child(ren) age 7 or older, register for the Family venue instead.

Couples Event: Register for if you are bringing your spouse (must be enrolled in DEERS). For the maximum benefit of this retreat, we recommend you do not bring children to this event. However, if you cannot find alternative childcare, we provide free childcare for children ages 0-6. If you bring a child 7 or older, you must register for the Family venue instead.

Family Event: Register for if you and your spouse are brining a child(ren) age 7 and older. All dependents must be enrolled in DEERS. Children ages 7 and older will attend all the Family Training with you. Single parents may attend this venue with their child(ren). Free childcare is provided for children ages 0-6.

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Do You Want to be a Unit Public Affairs Representative?

As the 108th Training Command (IET) reduces its structure, it will be difficult for the Public Affairs Staff to visit each brigade, battalion and company to cover news events. Public Affairs is the responsibility of commanders and Soldiers alike.

The PAO can assist with the Unit Public Affairs Program (UPAR), which allows a Soldier to be the additional eyes and ears for your unit and the PAO. By volunteering you will assume the duties of UPAR as an additional duty. 

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Soldiers Gold Mine

Battle Buddy

The Spanish version of the Battle Buddy APP is now a GO! Soldiers and Civilians can upload the APP on their personal iTunes, Google Play, and Windows Phone Stores.

IG

Corrective Training

By now, leaders are aware that NCO authority is derived from the commander’s authority (AR 600-20 Army Command Policy, para 2-1b), and that the commander may hold Soldiers and leaders accountable when that authority is abused or misused. The commander has many tools to address violations of regulation, policy, or procedure, the least of which may include counseling and/or associated corrective training.

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Fore!

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  — ‘Fore’ is an old English term with multiple definitions.

Merriam-Webster defines it as ‘situated in front of something else.’

On one of the miraculously manicured fairways of a golf course it can mean look ahead, as if to warn someone of an incoming golf ball.

Its utterance is enough to make most calmly crouch and cover their heads in fear of being knocked unconscious from one of those hard, fast moving projectiles.

For others it’s a reason to look up towards the sky in bewilderment as if somehow actually seeing a golf ball before it hits you in the face will make the pain a little more tolerable.

But on the plush green golf course at the Pine Island Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, it was enough to send this Army photojournalist barreling head first into a golf cart, or behind a tree, or just about anywhere I could find that would provide refuge from the deluge of short shots, long shots, and just plain bad shots!

On Sept. 28, 2015, Soldiers and Family members of the 108th Training Command’s Griffon Association took to the rain soaked course at Pine Island to engage in a friendly competition while raising money for charity at the same time.

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Tee It Up For Soldiers and Their Families

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Fifth Annual Soldiers and Families Golf Tournament was held on 28 Sept., at the Pine Island Country Club. The event kicked off with a shotgun start and the golf carts started rolling.

Proceeds from the tournament provide needed resources for Soldiers and Families for educational opportunities, funds for Families under financial stress as a result of a Soldier’s deployment, funds for financial assistance to Soldiers who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty, support for Family Support activities such as funds for Care Packages and phone cards to deployed Soldiers and support for other charitable organization, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, who support Soldiers and Veterans.

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Start 2016 with a New Business in Franchising

The New Year is all about fresh starts, whether it is making resolutions or starting a new business. Franchising is a popular career for those in the armed forces, whether starting while active duty or after retirement, because military skills translate well into franchise ownership.

Here are five reasons why January is an optimal time for those currently serving in the military to open their own business, specifically a travel franchise. 

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Relevant Tags: Griffon108, Military Transition Resources

Fields of Green: 5 Routes Toward a New Career

This content is provided courtesy of USAA. Whether you’re transitioning from military to civilian life or have decided to change career fields, your main goal is to find a stable, good-paying job as quickly as you can. A strategic way to do that is to choose a job in one of the nation’s fastest-growing career fields.

Positions in quickly growing sectors are tough for employers to fill quickly enough to meet demand — which means employee salaries can be quite competitive. In addition, “jobs in some of these fields may draw on skills you gained in the military or a previous career, and that’s helpful if you need to find a new position quickly,” says David Renza, assistant director of military admissions at Post University in Waterbury, Conn., and co-author of “Military Education Benefits for College.”

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Why Online Public Schooling Works Well for Military Families

Children thrive academically in a supportive learning environment that’s focused on their strengths and needs. For military families, frequent relocations can add an extra challenge to finding schooling in which kids can reach their full potential.

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How Skiing Came To The South

Fifty-three years ago skiing came south and here’s the beginning of the story. The rich story of Blowing Rock Ski Lodge, later Appalachian Ski Mtn., reveals more than just how dramatically the ski industry has progressed. It also shows the monumental impact skiing has had on the entire economy and culture of the High Country and Southern Appalachians.

The people of skiing’s first half-century are quite a cast of characters, a truly colorful group. Many are no longer living. Others are reaching the twilight of long lives.

When Blowing Rock Ski Lodge debuted in December 1962, West Virginia and Maryland had already seen several small ski areas come and go, some with primitive snowmaking. Virginia’s Homestead had birthed the South’s first “real” ski area in winter 1959-60, with successful snow making and a five-star resort atmosphere that electrified the media and helped raise Southern awareness of skiing. Winter 1961-62 saw two more Southern slopes open. Tom Alexander started Cataloochee east of the Smokies in Maggie Valley. He launched North Carolina’s first ski area in part to provide year-round work for summer employees of his dude ranch. Tennessee’s Ober Gatlinburg also opened that winter with a new wrinkle — the city purchased the land and leased it to local stockholders wanting skiing on the western side of the Smokies.

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Avery County Provides Lots of Winter Fun

Avery County, North Carolina, located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains welcomes fun seekers of all ages. This beautiful and unique area offers four distinct seasons and the Avery County Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to live the dream and enjoy true Southern hospitality. We are even the Home to the world famous Woolly Worm Festival, one of the top 10 fall festivals in the country!

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Canaan Valley — a Winter Wonderland

I still remember how proud I was the moment I first let my daughter go, let her face the wonder of gravity and thrill of speed all by herself. I watched her slide smoothly down the slope, moving cautiously from one turn into another, her eyes filled with wonder and delight, and I knew then just how lucky we are to call Canaan Valley our home. I remember my first time skiing also; perhaps six years old visiting a tiny, now-defunct hill in south eastern Pennsylvania where I lost control and did a vicious split on my first run. I left in tears and swore off skiing for years to come. My father, a college ski racer himself, was no ski instructor — under his well-intentioned but ill-informed instruction it’s surprising I didn’t hang it up for good.

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Three Rivers, Lake Kaweah and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

We are preparing for our 10th Annual Hero Appreciation Months, a unique local program in which we honor our military along with our firefighters and all of our first responders, every January through March. You will see many 2016 events related to Heroes Months in the list below. They are free and open to the public — but that is not all we are doing!  Below you will also find a sample of other 2016 concerts, festivals and events which we have already prepared for our community, and for all of our visitors.

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Try a Theme Cruise for Your Next Vacation

Have you ever wanted to get a backstage pass to meet your favorite legendary Grammy Award-winning music artist after a concert, sip a fine glass of Moscato wine poured by an award-winning winemaker, play poker with tournament champs, attend a Military Reunion with your Vietnam buddies, do the twist and daily exercise with Chubby Checker, participate in a “Cruise For A Cure” walk on a ship to raise funds for Children’s Cancer, meet Disney characters at breakfast, listen to your favorite DJs or learn how to prepare an exquisite meal alongside a celebrity chef?

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Put some ‘Wow’ in your winter at Universal

Whether you’re seeking an exciting getaway or you’re just looking to escape the cold, winter is the perfect time to visit Universal Orlando® Resort. With two jaw-dropping theme parks, unforgettable dining and entertainment, plus sensational special events, there’s fun and excitement all ages can enjoy.

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Explore the Mysteries of Coral Castle

Ed Leedskalnin secretly built Coral Castle as he excavated, carved, and moved 1,100 tons of coral rock. Since 1923 scientists, engineers, and scholars continue to be mystified and investigate the Coral Castle. If you had visited Coral Castle in the 1940s you would have been greeted enthusiastically by a man weighing a mere 100 pounds and standing just over five feet tall. He would have asked you for 10 cents admission and introduced you to his fantasy world.

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Plan for an Adventurous Getaway in Galax

It’s a great time to begin planning an adventurous spring getaway for you and your family. Many people enjoy leaving the hustle-bustle of large commercial destinations behind for a relaxing and more authentic experience in a smaller community. Galax, Virginia might be just the place you are looking for.

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Wytheville ... There’s Only One

You can search the world over and not find another community in the world named Wytheville. While the distinction of a name is a unique characteristic, the diversity of attractions and activities that this small community has to offer is even more important.

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Wytheville is located at the intersection of two major north-south interstates, 77 and 81.  A variety of interesting “homegrown” attractions have contributed to the abundance of outdoor recreation and heritage to make this a family friendly destination or getaway.

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Unique Journey on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Searching for a vacation full of authentic experiences and adventures? Life flows a little differently on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and we think you’re overdue for some fun.

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Hendersonville, N.C. — Life’s Playground

As the fall harvest season ends and the weather turns cooler, the fun heats up in Hendersonville.  Hendersonville is located in the scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and boasts mild weather year-round.  Winter is the perfect time to experience small-town charm and holiday cheer with your whole family.

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The Griffon Vol. 39.4 (Winter 2015)

The Griffon Vol. 39.4 (Winter 2015)
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The 108th Training Command got its start as part of an elaborate deception prior to Operation Overlord, the D-Day Invasion of France in World War II. The Division was a "phantom" division created on paper and assigned to the First United States Army Group under the command of General George Patton. We were the original Institutional Training (IT) Division and remain one of seven training divisions for the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard. The Griffon is in its 30th publishing year as an award-winning authorized publication written in the interest of the men and women of the 108th Training Command.

  • The Griffon is written and published quarterly in the interest of the 108th National Training Command. It is shipped directly to member's homes and to Training Command bases throughout the U.S.
  • The Griffon is regularly recognized by the Pentagon with their highest rating of Four Stars as one of the largest and most informative authorized publications in the Army.
  • Our members use The Griffon for prescreened, approved resources and opportunities for themselves and their families.
  • The Griffon is required reading material with a message straight from the General.