William J. Leary III, the deputy chief of the Forces Command Aviation Division, talks to Soldiers and leaders from the 1st Cavalry Division, during a class on personnel recovery hosted by the 1st Air Cavalry "Warrior" Brigade, July 9. Leary stressed that all Soldiers should learn about personnel recovery because they could be at risk for capture while in Iraq and other hostile locations.

FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from numerous units within the 1st Cavalry Division gathered at the 1st Air Cavalry "Warrior" Brigade headquarters for training in personnel recovery, July 9.

The Forces Command class was taught by Atlanta native, William B. Leary III, deputy chief of FORSCOM's Aviation Division, who stressed the Warrior Ethos.

"It goes back to the Warrior Ethos - leave no Soldier behind," said Leary. "That tells us that we've got to take care of everyone on the battlefield and make sure everybody gets through their service."

The two-day class focuses on the different aspects of personnel recovery - skills necessary for any Soldier in today's conflicts, said Leary

"We've realized since the beginning of (Operation Iraqi Freedom) that the threat is a three-dimensional threat - it can't be recognized from the normal populace," he said. "Therefore, Soldiers need to be aware of all the threats they may face, and that's why I'm here."

Leary stressed that any Soldier can fall victim to kidnapping and be put in a hostage situation, that is why he teaches his class. He trains other trainers so that they can ensure Soldiers are ready for whatever may come their way.

He also clarified one of the misconceptions about personnel recovery training.

"The biggest misconception is that it only relates to pilots or aviators," Leary said.

Because Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school is traditionally attended by pilots and special operation forces, many Soldiers assume personnel recovery pertains to only those few as well, he said.

Leary hopes that his class will help integrate personnel recovery training throughout the ranks as the trainers go out and train their troopers. He also wishes that it becomes integrated much like safety.

"It's a whole process that making sure that not only Soldiers, but leaders understand the process and that it runs parallel and integrated into standard Army operations ... like safety, something we think about all the time," said Leary.

Leary will be conducting classes for FORSCOM for the foreseeable future, so he is ready to train as many Soldiers as possible before they head off to Iraq. He believes training is essential to any fine-tuned unit.

"Well-trained units do everything well. So this is just another aspect of doing a part of the training prior to deployment," said Leary.

Page last updated Wed July 9th, 2008 at 17:11