By Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner, 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West, Public AffairsApril 17, 2013
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. -- Who trains the reserve force when the force is getting ready to deploy? That job belongs to trainer/mentors, Soldiers who educate and train reserve component Army units, and some active-duty Army units, as well.
During the two-month Operation Warrior Protector exercise here, TMs in the 1-363rd Training Support Battalion, "Gunslingers," 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West, are playing a vital role. The Gunslingers, comprised of both active and reserve component Army troops, is tasked with maintaining the whereabouts of equipment, dealing with manning issues, and acting as TMs for the opposing forces, or OPFOR.
Typically, the Gunslingers provide oversight for training units. But their role in Operation Warrior Protector is different, said Capt. Gregory Adkins, Alpha Team TM chief, 1-363rd Training Support Battalion.
"I'm basically acting as the OPFOR's trainer/mentor for this lane," said Adkins, who was waiting for a military police unit to establish a traffic control point in a simulated village. At that time, OPFOR personnel were to engage the MPs by causing a disturbance. "That means when the BLUFOR, which is the training unit, comes to my lane, I make sure the OPFOR knows how to act properly around them and gives the unit a good training experience."
As a commissioned officer, Adkins relishes the opportunity to put his TM skills into action.
"I love this stuff," he said. "I get a chance to go out to the field. I get to teach, and in the civilian world I'm pursuing a career in education. So this is a great place to instruct leaders and Soldiers, in general, to help them improve their skills."
Fort Hunter Liggett is the largest installation in the Army Reserve, with more than 160,000 acres of mountains, valleys, rivers, plains and forests. It provides ideal maneuver areas and state of the art training facilities.
The 91st Training Division, headquartered at Fort Hunter Liggett, trains and assesses Army Reserve units, and supports training for joint, combined and active Army forces. Thousands of Soldiers and dozens of units from around the country are participating in the April Combat Support Training Exercise, which provides realistic training for military maneuvers and tactics such as base security, convoy operations and battle reaction drills during simulated enemy attacks. The exercise provides realistic training to units to successfully meet the challenges of an extended and integrated battlefield.