Division West Soldier hones trainer/mentor skills
April 16, 2013
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. -- Several years ago, a young man from New Jersey found his way out west and now is a Gunslinger.
Sgt. 1st Class Donald Davis is a member of 1st Battalion, 363rd Training Support Battalion, the "Gunslingers," located in Dublin, Calif.
In 2001, Davis completed his contractual obligation with the active-duty Army. Then, he embarked on a new career as an Army Reserve Soldier.
At Fort Sill, Okla., Davis trained battalion- and brigade-level staffs in the military decision-making process. But, shortly after he joined the Gunslinger trainer/mentor team in California, the reserve unit geared up for a new mission.
"The unit was mobilized for four to five years at Fort Bliss (Texas). Some guys stayed there for a while running different lanes, and that's how my trainer/mentor process started," Davis explained.
From 2005 until today, Davis has honed his skills and the trainer/mentor craft to better prepare units for deployments.
Davis said he likes being a trainer/mentor because he gets to train Soldiers.
"Getting to see (Soldiers) enhance their skills, helping them out with tasks, getting to see guys go downrange with the stuff you had to offer them swells my chest a bit," he said.
"Being able to give the Soldiers some training they may have seen before and adding to their toolbox, plus anything you can do to help a Soldier prior to going downrange to enhance their life, is just a great compliment to what (trainer/mentors) do."
Coming from active duty to the reserve component wasn't an issue for Davis.
"There really isn't any difference between the two," he said. "I think the reserve Soldiers' ages vary. Every rank has sort of a mixed bag of age and experience. On the active side, the leadership is somewhat older and the junior guys are younger."
At Fort Hunter Liggett, Davis has joined his Gunslinger unit for 14 days of annual training. Here, he makes sure the Soldiers working as Opposing Forces are prepared for their mission by providing guidance and structure to their actions while maintaining the teaching points for the unit being trained.
"We take the OPFOR out, brief them on what is going to take place and rehearse whatever scenario is going to take place," Davis said. "We supervise them on what the embedded trainer/mentor wants them to do. We then make sure they are doing the right thing at the right time and right level."
Davis said that if complete chaos breaks out during the training, it could be a good thing and a bad thing.
"You stress the unit to see how they react to it and the tough situation. If they can handle the tough situation, then the normal stuff is a walk in the park," he said. "I expect the OPFOR to perform well, as well as the unit. If this happens, my job has been done."
Fort Hunter Liggett is the largest installation in the Army Reserve, with more than 160,000 acres of mountains, valleys, rivers, plains and forests. It provides ideal maneuver areas and state of the art training facilities.
The 91st Training Division, headquartered at Fort Hunter Liggett, trains and assesses Army Reserve units, and supports training for joint, combined and active Army forces. Thousands of Soldiers and dozens of units from around the country are participating in the April Combat Support Training Exercise, which provides realistic training for military maneuvers and tactics such as base security, convoy operations and battle reaction drills during simulated enemy attacks. The exercise provides realistic training to units to successfully meet the challenges of an extended and integrated battlefield.