By Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie WidemondApril 9, 2015
FORT BENNING, Ga. - The 188th Infantry Brigade is a multi-component training brigade comprised of active duty and reservists observer-coach/trainers who advise and assist reserve component training units across the United States in an effort to help them maintain mission readiness as part of the Army Force Generation cycle. A method of accomplishing this mission is by providing feedback through after action reviews.
"We are getting our reserve battalions up to speed on how to conduct effective AARs," said Sgt. 1st Class Santiago Laderes, 1st Battalion, 306th Infantry Regiment observer-coach/trainer.
Ensuring the 188th Brigade is speaking the same language when it comes to providing AARs is all in preparation of the upcoming multi-echelon integrated brigade training exercise for the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat team, Vermont National Guard; and the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Virginia National Guard taking place in Fort Drum, New York. The 3rd Battalion, 345th Combat Support/Combat Service Support Regiment wants to be ready for the crucial training mission.
"We are getting hands-on training with the AARs," said Command Sgt. Maj. T'resay Drape- Jones, command sergeant major for the 3-345th.
"We go on our missions and come back with ammunition to use as during the AAR," she continued. For the OC/Ts within 188th, the standard used to conducts AARs is the First Army standard.
Providing constructive feedback is important, but more important is getting the training unit to see and understand for themselves what they need to improve upon and what they can sustain. Interpersonal skills and encouraging the unit to participate in the discussion is crucial to helping them improve.
"I usually gauge the audience, and then call on the quiet ones who let everyone else do the talking. Each soldier is part of the unit and has to feel comfortable providing input," said Sgt. 1st Class LaMetrick Mcclain, 3-345th OC/T. He said practice makes perfect.
"You practice with your battle buddies before you go out, the more repetitions you do the better you get, he said.
The 3-345th practiced with each other, conducting AARs after going through a variety of missions and learning how to get comfortable in front of a crowd to provide the best possible training experience for the national guard units they will be working with in the summer.
"After a while, you just don't even think about it, you just do," said Mcclain.