Joint Force training focuses on situational awareness
March 20, 2013
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N. J. -- The military uses the word 'Purple' to indicate combined forces for a joint effort. Recently, a group of Purple forces integrated to prepare for overseas deployment.
Under the watchful eyes of First Army Division East trainer mentors, Navy, Air Force and Army personnel conducted entry control point security, convoy operations, and foot patrols during pre-mobilization training at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
The training prepares Army Reserve and National Guard, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard units for deployment in support of Overseas Contingency Operations. First Army ensures all Reserve and National Guard Soldiers and their units are trained and validated to deploy around the world. Trainer mentors work hard to ensure mobilization training is relevant, realistic, and reflects the most current conditions Soldiers will face in theater.
One facet of the training includes the Collective Task Operations Lanes field exercise or CTOL.
"CTOL gives an understanding of basic training on how to react to any kind of situation you may find yourself in," explained Sgt.1st Class Daniel Garcia, a trainer mentor with the 1-307th Training Support Battalion at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. "The training is required for all units before leaving for theater."
The training provides service members with the Army perspective on what to expect as they go overseas based on the unit, their destination and mission.
"It is Army-specific training mandated by First Army," said Sgt. 1st Class Kyuyong Olving, a 174th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East trainer mentor. "We train the smaller non-combat units going to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Horn of Africa."
All service members are brought together for a day of discussions on universal topics such as rules of engagement while deployed and the importance of maintaining and accounting for equipment at all times. Afterwards, service members began focusing on their specific training missions.
"Training can encompass three to five days depending on the unit," said Olving. "The level of knowledge dictates the kind of training. We do the 'crawl, walk, run' concept with the units that don't have as much Army knowledge."
For example, the Service members learn to perform searches on people and vehicles prior to entering a base.
During one scenario, a role player acting as a 'local national' presented a valid form of identification prior to being escorted onto base by Navy 1st Lt. Mary Tabor, a nurse from Jacksonville, Fla., with the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center Forward Surgical Team. The civilian was then checked for unauthorized items such as cell phones.
"It's good to learn what the Army does," said Tabor. "It's good to learn outside my job scope and prepare for what life will be like for my first deployment."
Other training included towing vehicles, reacting to enemy contact, and meeting with village leaders to build rapport.
"We did convoy battle drills," said Airman 1st Class Charles DelaCruz, a cook from Chicago, Ill., with the 7th Force Support Squadron, Mission Support Group. "We saw improvised explosive devices, made reports, then got up and did our battle drills. We learned what to do in that situation. I have never been in a convoy before."
When the units completed the missions, the trainers conducted after-action reviews.
"We do a hot wash: the do's and don'ts, improves and sustains of the mission," said Garcia.
Lessons learned and successful actions were discussed and changes were made where necessary.
"The most important thing to get from this training is situational awareness," said Garcia. "The bottom line is that the training helps the service members know how to react and conduct themselves in theater."