By Capt. Marcel M. Hickman, 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division WestApril 5, 2013
McGREGOR RANGE BASE CAMP, N.M. -- For longer than two years, Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Task Force Renegade, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, trained deploying service members to operate Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles here.
But, last month, they handed over their duties to another 5th Armored Brigade battalion, this one composed entirely of mobilized Army Reserve Soldiers.
The Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 363rd Regiment (Training Support), Task Force Black Scorpion, were called to active duty from Mesa, Ariz., in January to support the 5th Armored Brigade's mission in training joint warfighters for Operation Enduring Freedom.
"Taking over the responsibility of training joint warfighters is a challenging and exciting opportunity for observer controllers/trainers, especially in the capacity of MRAP driver's training," said 2nd Lt. John Pyne, Black Scorpion officer-in-charge of MRAP driver's training. "The need and relevance of superior training on operating the MRAP platform cannot be overstated."
Black Scorpion Soldiers have already completed several courses to prepare them for their new mission, which includes training joint warfighters on two variants of the MRAP vehicles, the MRAP egress trainer, and troop-leading procedures.
The battalion has conducted training tasks such as observer controller/trainer certification through the First Army Training Academy and combat lifesaver training, taught by the 5th Armored Brigade. Some Black Scorpion personnel also certified as range safety officers in training provided by Fort Bliss, Texas.
Black Scorpion Soldiers specifically assigned to the MRAP training lanes were licensed and certified as instructors on the MaxxPro Dash MRAP vehicle. They also went through the Fort Bliss MRAP egress trainer train-the-trainer course allowing them to operate the MET at McGregor Range Base Camp. The MET is a training requirement that all joint warfighters must complete before deploying overseas, and is a major training lane executed by the Soldiers.
While they are mobilized for the joint warfighter training mission, Black Scorpion personnel will continue to attend classes on how to teach the specific classes they instruct.
The two task forces -- Renegade and Black Scorpion -- are currently working together to completely transition from one set of training personnel to another. During the relief-in-place process, Black Scorpion Soldiers will first observe Renegade Soldiers conducting training, then they will conduct training themselves while Renegade Soldiers observe and critique them on their performance.
"Working with our predecessors, Task Force Renegade, has made the transition process really work in our favor. Not every unit gets such an in-depth battle hand-off as we have," said Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Galvan, Task Force Black Scorpion observer/controller trainer. "The joint warfighters will definitely receive a superior training product in the end because of it."