ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Designed for civilians who want to experience a Soldier's way of life, the U.S. Army Research Lab held a greening course here 30 Oct to 3 Nov.

The five-day course gave participants, mostly Army scientists and engineers, a taste of Army basic training that matures a new recruit into a Soldier.

Participants were standing in formation at 0515 hours (5:15 a.m.) for Physical Training, or PT. Training included basic marksmanship, a live fire at the shooting range and a flight in a Black Hawk helicopter.

"I went looking forward to the opportunity to learn from Soldiers. Unfortunately, I assumed the week would be consumed with classroom-based teaching combined with an occasional physical event," Tracie Dean, the ARL platoon sergeant for the week, said.

"On day one, I was selected to lead 22 civilian employees as a platoon sergeant," she continued. "At that moment, the entire experience became a lot more serious to me. I had a responsibility to lead by example, forcing me to put forth more of an effort than I initially anticipated I would,"

On a regular day, Dean is an ARL public affairs specialist and as platoon sergeant she pushed the 22 civilians through the mentally and physically challenging greening course.

Sgt. 1st Class Bobby Martin, Jr., a 24-year veteran in service, led the civilians through PT each morning. PT was his favorite activity during the week-long course.

"We challenge them to challenge themselves before they come to this course to make sure they can complete all the obstacles," Martin said.
The greening course activities mirror those used in basic training.

"This was an opportunity to interact closely with military personnel and understand their work environment. We now have a personal perspective about the challenges faced by a Soldier, some of which are not apparent from our usual limited interactions," Dean added.

Martin especially enjoys hearing, "You do all this before 0700?"

His response, "Yes, and now we have to make it through the rest of the day. (Soldiers) down in line units do a lot that people don't see. You are always at PT, a range, an obstacle course; you are always training to fight."

While each day began with PT, participants spent time in the classroom where they learned "basic Army knowledge," aviation and flight information and all about safety.

"We teach them the basics and it becomes muscle memory because they are doing it every single day. The difference between Day 1 and Day 5 is the same as basic training Day Zero to graduation. You get to watch them grow into who they can be by the end," Martin said.

At graduation, the 23 participants stood at attention, recited the Civilian Creed and sang The Army Song without lyrics.

"We showed up as 23 individuals with different interests, experiences and backgrounds, but graduated as a cohesive unit. Every challenge, every obstacle and every test -- we overcame as one team," Dean said proudly.

2017 Army Research Laboratory Greening Course Graduates:

Derrik A., ARL/ CISD
Walter A., ARL/ Weld shop WMRD
Jonroy C., ARL/ HRED
Shawn C., ARL/ WMRD
Tracie D., ARL/ PAO
Lelso "Californin'" D., ARL/ SEDD
Sean F., ARL/ WMRD
Micah G., ARL/ WMRD
Elliot G., ARL/ SEDD (ALC)
Michael H., ARL/ LAB-OPS
Nicole K., ARL/ LAB-OPS
Angie L., OSD/ Chem/Bio Defense
Jonathan L., ARL/ WMRD
Joel M., ARL/ SEDD
James O., ARL/ WMRD
Ryan O., ARL/ SEDD
James R., ARL/ CISD
Randy T., ARL/SEDD
Maggie W., ARL/ CISD


The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.