Permanent party Soldiers keep their skills current
January 17, 2008
As a drill sergeant at the 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), Staff Sgt. Adrian Jennings spends more time dealing with new Soldiers than on a 50-caliber machine gun.
Last week, however, Jennings and more than 500 Fort Jackson permanent party Soldiers from the 171st Infantry Brigade were certified in the 40 Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills during a brigade-level training exercise that challenged their knowledge and performance in weapons, communications and first aid.
"We really wanted to focus on permanent party Soldiers," said Master Sgt. Perry Flowers, first sergeant, Company B, Victory Support Battalion. "For two to six months, the Soldiers here don't pick up a weapon and 'if you don't use it, you lose it.' Soldiers always need to refresh their skills, so when they are deployed they won't be too far behind their peers."
Soldiers who work at the Victory Support Battalion, the Drill Sergeant School, the 120th Adj. Gen. Bn., the 187th Ordnance Battalion and the Fitness Training Company are all assigned to the 171st Inf. Bde.
The exercise, which was conducted Jan. 7-11, was part of a yearly requirement for certification, however, this is the first time it has been done at the brigade level for Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.
"Every fiscal year from here on out, we will conduct this as a brigade," said Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Berry, 171st Inf. Bde. noncommissioned officer in charge of Omaha Beach Range. "It really gets them back into training mode."
Conducted in training area 3C, located off Enon Road, the event featured 11 stations with a tester. The first half of the week focused on tasks and drill and the second half was certification.
It included four weapons stations, with tasks such as assembling a 50-caliber rifle and mock grenade throwing, and four combat drills. First aid was also emphasized as was placing a nine-line medical evacuation.
"It was geared to what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan," Flowers said. "We've got to keep our Soldiers geared up and up to snuff."
Training leaders plan to keep the site up for the upcoming Expert Infantry Badge test in March, as well as the 2008 Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills certification.
"This was the perfect time to do the certification because it gets them into the mindset and focused on EIB," Flowers said. "We want to keep permanent structures out here so we don't have to reinvent the wheel every year."