Army Leaders Address Training Needs Of 21st Century Recruits
August 28, 2008
By Jeff Crawley
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - The Army is meeting all of its recruiting goals and getting people who are motivated to become Soldiers.
That was one point the commanding general of the Training and Doctrine Command made at the Initial Entry Training Forum Aug. 18 to 21 in San Antonio.
The TRADOC-sponsored forum drew about 180 Army senior leaders from training centers, who discussed the training needs of the 21st century information-age recruits. It was hosted by the Army Medical Department Center and School and Fort Sam Houston.
"There may be nothing more important than what we do in the Army and that is take young people who raise their right hands and support and defend the Constitution of the United States," Gen. William Wallace, TRADOC commander, told forum attendees Aug. 19.
Other key points that Wallace made included:
Aca,!Ac Increasing Basic Combat Training from nine weeks to 10 weeks without increasing training requirements.
Aca,!Ac Field Manual 7-0 Full-Spectrum Training will be released within two months. It addresses how the Army will perform training in an era of persistent conflict.
Aca,!Ac The Army has established a pilot program that trains recruits to earn their GEDs in four weeks. About 45 students are currently enrolled in the U.S. Army Preparatory School and upon graduation will move on to Basic Combat Training.
Aca,!Ac Advanced Individual Training drill sergeants have been replaced with platoon sergeants. The move has put Soldiers in training into a less-controlled environment so they can experience what is expected in a chain of command and, therefore, be better prepared for their first unit assignment.
The primary purpose of the IET forum was to look at new approaches, innovative ideas and better ways train new Soldiers, said Col. Fred Kienle, G3 director of Operations and Training for the Army Accessions Command, at Fort Monroe, Va.
"We focus primarily on Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training and One-Station Unit Training and all those related processes and efforts to bring new Soldiers into the Army," Kienle said.
Participants heard from about 25 presenters including key TRADOC personnel, Department of the Army staff, brigade commanders and others involved in the IET endeavor, Kienle said.
Topics ranged from athletic trainers in Basic Combat Training to barracks construction to Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. Attendees also broke off into small work groups to exchange ideas.
Staff Sgt. Herbert Thompson, the TRADOC Drill Sergeant of the Year, participated in a working group to give the drill sergeants' broader perspective.
One of the subjects he spoke on was blended reception, which gives recruits one chain of command from the start allowing them to be trained immediately.
In the old system, a new recruit may arrive at a reception station and sit there a week to 10 days and only do six hours of actual physical in-processing, Thompson said. The rest of the time was just spent waiting.
The forum was also the stage of a Purple Heart ceremony Aug. 19 at the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel. Staff Sgt. Shiloh Harris was awarded the medal by Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commanding general of the Army Accessions Command. Harris, of B Troop, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was injured Feb. 19, 2007, in Iraq, when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.
And, forum participants observed Warriors in Transition undergoing physical rehabilitation Aug. 20 at the Center for the Intrepid at Fort Sam Houston.
"It was a lot more than a tour," Kienle said. "It ensured understanding, awareness and an idea exchange and looked at the incredible work that is being done at Fort Sam Houston."
Lt. Col. Dean Redden, inspector general for TRADOC, said that the forum provided him with much information about a variety of topics.
"I got a lot of good information, particularly about the drill sergeants becoming platoon sergeants in AIT, and all the different types of projects going on with barracks renovation or with construction as it relates to BRAC or the creation of the centers of excellence," Redden said. "It was a great forum."