Where Soldiering Begins

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Spc. Patrisha Querubin from A Co., 2/319th, 3rd Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT), provides support to the 120th AG Battalion during annual training by creating ID tags with pertinent information such as blood type and religion preferences for initial entry Soldiers at Fort Jackson, S.C.  Photo by Maj. Satomi Mack-Martin, 201st Press Camp HQ Public Affairs

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.

“Some people would argue that it starts with the recruiter or at the MEPS station, but my opinion is that this is where the Soldierization process really begins,” he stated.

Reserve Soldiers have been placed within the Initial Receiving Branch (IRB) and within the Personnel Affairs Branch (PAB) during their two-week annual training, primarily because the majority of in-processing for the overall reception battalion takes place within those two sections, explained Fosse.

All the essential administrative functions that would normally be completed by a battalion S-1 shop such as creating the DD 93 and SGLI forms, taking ID card photos and reviewing the Montgomery G.I. Bill, would be completed by Soldiers working in the PAB. As well as, verifying that a trainee’s personal information was inputted correctly by their recruiter or by MEPS station personnel. It can take up to 30 minutes per person during an interview process, which is conducted one-on-one with a Soldier or civilian that’s assigned to Fosse’s company.

Fosse said the IRB section is a 24-hour operation. “Reserve Soldiers can be on day or night shift, in order to help in-process trainees,” he said. “They do the exact same work that an active duty Soldier would be doing, working side by side or to augment manpower shortages.”

The night shift processes incoming trainees when they get off the bus at night. The section is responsible for breaking down in-processing packets, getting the trainees rostered to a processing company and issuing them their initial physical training uniforms.

The IRB day shift is responsible for making labels for the trainee’s packets and creating stencils that are used to mark up the trainee’s bags. Other functions include ensuring trainees are shipped to the appropriate Basic Training Unit.

Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Cannon, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the IRB section for Delta Company 120th AG Battalion, adds that the IRB day shift Soldiers would also escort the trainees to over 23 stations for in-processing on matters such as medical, dental, initial clothing issue, etc. He stated that anywhere from 300 to 700 trainees arrive at night between the hours of 2100 to 0200.

Spc. Emily Clark from A Co., 2/319th, 3rd Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT), provides support to the 120th AG Battalion during annual training by providing instructions to initial entry Soldiers on completing necessary forms for in-processing at Fort Jackson, S.C.  Photo by Maj. Satomi Mack-Martin, 201st Press Camp HQ Public Affairs

“Having the Army Reserve Soldiers during the summer surge in early June through early September has been very helpful, considering the battalion does not have the manpower to support the influx of trainees,” said Cannon.

Soldiers such as Spc. Patrisha Querubin and Spc. Emily Clark, both from Alpha company, 2/319th, 3rd Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT), provide support in-processing trainees and creating ID tags with pertinent information such as blood type and religion preferences.

Clark’s primary military occupational specialty is a 35M, Human Intelligence Collector, however, she operates in the capacity of a 42A, Human Resources Specialist, while attached to the reception battalion.

“Perception is everything,” said Clark who received on-the-job training for processing new trainees. “I was told to speak in an authoritative tone, and that I was not there to befriend them but to process them,” she says.  In her civilian capacity, Clark works as an Adoption Counselor at the Humane Society for dogs and cats.

“No one should be able to tell the difference between an Army Reserve Soldier and an Active Duty Soldier,” stated Cannon as he reflects on the advice he shares with Reserve Soldiers.

“Fall in line and be professional,” he said. “Remember these are trainees, so treat them with respect and make sure you’re doing the right thing at all times.”  Reminders such as these, ensures the success of a seamless operation at the 120th AG Battalion.

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