By Courtesy article April 11, 2013
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. --"Train for combat" is the motto of First Army Division East; it is what they do every day.
"Our brigade exists solely to prepare service members for deployment; therefore, we must be expert trainers," expressed Col. Craig A. Osborne, commander, 174th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, in his vision and command philosophy.
Soldiers of the 174th Infantry Brigade, stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., execute and certify individual and collective training for Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers, in support of Overseas Contingency Operations such as Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, the Horn of Africa, and others.
The 174th Infantry Brigade consists of eight subordinate battalions stretching from Fort Devens, Mass. to Fort Meade, Md., with two active duty infantry regiments and two Reserve combat service and support regiments stationed at JBMDL.
Soldiers of the 174th provide highly skilled instructors specializing in a wide range of military specialties including but is not limited to: Counterinsurgency experts, Counter-Improvised Explosive Device master trainers, experienced Combat Life Savers, Master gunners, Modern Army Combatives Program Level I and II instructors, and a variety of cultural advisors and foreign language experts.
Recently, Sailors underwent Combat Life Saver training at JBMDL.
"This lane was amazing," said Petty Officer 1st Class Sarah Payton, U.S. Navy Customs. "I learned a lot working together with the team and finding out the levels of stress people can take. It's good to know, because these are the people we're going to be with out in the field."
She added it was nice to see who understood the training and who needed some extra assistance prior to setting foot in a deployed environment.
The trainees endured 40 hours of meticulous medical training and testing, finishing with a day- long culminating exercise, putting their skills to the test.
"If anything were to happen to any of my buddies over there," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory Burkholder, U.S. Navy Customs. "I believe I'd be able to care for them and keep them alive until they can get better care, and that's what it's all about."
The job of trainer/mentors is not only to prepare every service member for deployment -- it is to make them combat ready. The training deploying forces receive is tailored to their theater mission. Individuals train specifically to combat the threats associated with the operational environment they will soon occupy.
Counter --Improvised Explosive Device training is part of every service member's mobilization training.
"IEDs are still the number one enemy weapon of choice, whether employed roadside or by means of insider attack," said Sgt. 1st Class Clint Buchanan, a C-IED Trainer/Mentor with 1st Battalion, 307th Infantry Regiment. "My job is to stay current and provide the best training I can for my comrades preparing for Overseas Contingency Operations."
Osborne's command vision illustrates Buchanan's point.
"A trained, disciplined and cohesive brigade that markedly contributes to the success of Overseas Contingency Operations by providing deploying service members the best training throughout First Army; executes all tasks to standard with quiet professionalism and a minimum amount of guidance."
The goal is to provide trained and ready forces to regional combatant commanders.
"Conducting Army training for sister-services requires a crawl-walk-run approach," explained Buchanan, lead instructor at the Dismounted IED Visual Indicator Lane, day one introduction of the 3-day Counter-IED training model. "I am a subject matter expert, but many trainees are experiencing this type of information for the first time. Breaking it down so that they become not only familiar with the concepts, but confident they can identify key components during combat operations is the only acceptable standard."
Osborne's command philosophy is based on six key pillars -- culture, people, leading, training, sustaining, and caring.
"The two most important pillars are culture and people," expresses Osborne during each monthly brigade town hall meeting. "This brigade is ours -- not mine. I am the commander and responsible for its success, but I will fail without the support and efforts of each member of the team."
First Army, and subordinate units to include the 174th Inf. Bde., received the Army Superior Unit Award, for successfully mobilizing and demobilizing more than 260,000 Soldiers world-wide.
Each year, approximately 8,000 of the mobilizing service members are trained by the dedicated Patriot Soldiers.
"Our job as instructors is never complete," stressed Buchanan. "Until every service member returns home, we continue to stay relevant and train every last troop."
The 174th Infantry Brigade, part of First Army Division East, mobilizes, trains, validates and deploys Reserve Component units to support overseas military operations. Along with Reserve component units, the division's trainer/mentors prepare and deploy sailors and airmen, along with selected members of the interagency and intergovernmental departments, to provide trained and ready forces across a full-spectrum of operations to regional combatant commanders worldwide.