Joint force training focuses on situational awareness
March 29, 2013
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - "Purple" is the term the military uses to combine forces for a joint effort. In this case, the joint forces are integrated on one particular Army installation to prepare for overseas deployment.
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, March 4-6.
Pre-deployment training prepares Army Reserve and National Guard, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard units for deployment in support of overseas contingency operations. 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," said Sgt.1st Class Daniel Garcia an observer/controller with the 1-307th Training Support Battalion at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. "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, an observer/controller/trainer with the 1-307th TSB. "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 the rules they are to follow while deployed, what to do in different situations and the importance of keeping equipment organized and tied down. Afterward, service members are split up to focus 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 who don't have as much Army knowledge."
Service members learn to perform searches people and vehicles prior to entering a base.
During one scenario, a role player acting as a "local national" presented a valid identification prior to being escorted onto base by 1st Lt. Mary Tabor, a Navy nurse from Jacksonville, Fla., with the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center Forward Surgical Team. The civilian was then checked for unauthorized items, such as cellphones.
"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 service members towing a Humvee, 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 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."