Over this last quarter, I have had the opportunity to visit four separate battalions (3-330IN, 1-321IN, 3-323IN, and Task Force Marshall) conducting training outside of their respective Reserve Centers (Ruck March, M203, M4, M9, etc,…) and want to pass along some of my observations:
Our ability to execute our missions, recruit viable Drill Sergeant Candidates, and retain Drill Sergeants (Combat Readiness) relies on our ability to effectively plan, execute, and assess challenging, METL-based training OUTSIDE of our reserve centers. I expect battalions to conduct two FTXs a year, and I expect Soldiers to take care of their readiness outside of BA so that we can conduct challenging METL-based training outside the Reserve Centers during BAs. Leaders will ensure that concurrent training will be planned and incorporated into all primary training events. During concurrent training, Soldiers will be continuously engaged in a focused and purposeful training activity that will concentrate on either repetition of past training to increase or maintain Soldier proficiency of a task, or preparation for upcoming training events. Units that conduct great training attract and retain great Soldiers! No great war story ever began with “When we were in the Reserve Center…”
Leaders will effectively manage risk using the principles of Risk Management. Risk assessments will be completed and updated daily, at a minimum, and leadership will supervise to ensure that the risk mitigation measures emplaced are being executed to standard. Command Teams, I need you checking on safety every time to go to a training event. Leaders will cease training when they identify unsafe activities. Risk management and safety training are vital elements of the Division’s overall safety program and every officer, NCO, and Soldier must understand the inherent risks in the training mission. Leaders will ensure that all personnel have completed the applicable initial and annual training requirements and integrate the following into their safety programs.
We need to ensure we maintain disciplined training in all areas, including uniforms, weapons, equipment, personal accountability—all Soldier aspects. Leaders must maintain accountability of Soldiers and equipment at all times. Ensure that your Soldiers are in the right uniform and have the appropriate equipment (i.e., if you are going to the range, do not shoot “slick”). Ensure that manuals, TSP, etc. are being reviewed and present during all training. This will enable leaders to address questions or concerns and ensure that training is being conducted to standard. As leaders, we need to convey the message that it is OK to reference the manual. Train as you fight and Train to standard!
My expectation of 98th Training Division Commanders, at all levels, is that they are the unit’s primary trainer. I expect Commanders to be at morning physical readiness training, at training events, at classroom instruction, at the ranges—wherever training is occurring, the Commander should be there. Commanders are always with the main effort of any operation, and in the 98th Training Division, the main effort is the unit’s training event. Commanders observe, evaluate and assess training and leader development at all levels of the organization. They provide feedback as a coach, teacher, and mentor. The commander ensures the unit trains to standard, not to time. Commanders personally observe and evaluate training execution to the maximum extent possible. Only through personal observation of and participation in training, can commanders communicate to subordinate units and leaders the importance of training. Commanders are the training managers for their commands and evaluate how leaders and Soldiers perform. Commanders conduct realistic and accurate assessments of unit training based on personal observation and feedback from unit leaders and Soldiers.
While traveling around the Division, it was easy to see that our Iroquois Soldiers enjoyed being out of the Reserve Centers conducting challenging, METL-based training! Knowing that, we have to push our Soldiers to take care of their readiness issues outside of BA. Then, we can use that time to conduct quality training outside the Reserve Centers.