A Fort Jackson Basic Combat Training battalion recently tested a new way of doing business by fast-tracking incoming Soldiers through in-processing.
Soldiers in-processing March 27 through April 6 bypassed the 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) and went directly to their unit, the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment.
"The goal is very simple; we are getting the Soldiers under the control of primary trainers as soon as possible," said Lt. Col. Kenneth Royalty, commander, 1st Bn., 34th Inf. Reg. "It actually gives our drill sergeants the chance to teach new recruits our battalion's training ways right from day zero instead of them learning from the reception battalion, and it also gives us an additional week to train with our Soldiers."
Upon arrival to the unit, recruits are given a welcome brief; the unit then collects their records and screens them to make sure the recruits are eligible to stay. Then, the 120th AG Bn. Initial Receiving Branch sends personnel to the battalion to perform mobile functions such as issuing initial physical training uniforms and collecting the Soldiers' packets for input into the system -- which generates final rosters and 201 files for each Soldier.
Company A was designated as the processing and support company for the other three companies -- in essence, the reception company. They were responsible for coordinating troop movements during in-processing.
Each of the three participating companies were transported by their company drill sergeants to the 120th AG Bn. for the first two days so that the new Soldiers could receive their uniform initial issue, visit the physical exams section, get paid, haircuts and immunizations, and have a chance to shop at the troop store for items needed during training.
"At the unit we became their 'meet-n-greet,' and within 20 minutes after arrival to post, getting off the bus and over to my company, they were in PT uniform, looking like Soldiers instead of civilians and ready to receive a briefing by their drill sergeants," said Capt. Michael LaChance, Co. A commander. He said that doing the in-processing this way enables the drill sergeants to have time to go into more detail while teaching things that they might have had to compress otherwise just to fit in the regular training load.
"It is good to see them on day two with their real drill sergeants, who won't be changing," LaChance said. "Drill and ceremonies are an important part of being a Soldier and to see them being taught without that time constraint is obviously beneficial."
Company B was the last company to fill and the company commander felt that his newly assigned Soldiers would definitely benefit from being in the hands of the trainers as soon as possible.
"These Soldiers will never know how lucky they had it not to have had to sit at 120th for a week of processing," said Capt. Rasheed Muwwakkil, Co. B commander. "It is interesting that we also get to be the ones to train our way and are able to get more time to do more of the fundamentals of Soldiering, as well as the tactical side of training."
He said it shows that when 1st Bn., 34th Inf. Reg. graduates June 8, it will be in true fashion as an "Always Forward" unit.