JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - In the Army, it's not uncommon to have someone either joining or leaving your unit every few months. It gets to be fairly normal. However, it doesn't make building an effective, well-rehearsed team any easier. That's what makes training together hard and often so important.
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, spent a few days training together at one of the few urban training areas on Joint Base Lewis-McChord in early November, where they spent time integrating new Soldiers into their ranks.
The training had numerous aspects, but key to those was the ability to operate as a team to effectively suppress and eliminate simulated enemy forces.
Their mission was a fairly straightforward one: secure a village. Even something as seemingly simple as this requires a level of teamwork.
"It's the first training event we've been able to do as a platoon other than [Expert Infantry Badge] train up," said 2nd Lt. Joseph Lemens, a new platoon leader with Bravo Company, 2-3 Inf. Regt.
For Lemens, this training was the first chance for him to see his infantry platoon in action. He's been with the unit a little more than 3 months now, and while he has seen them doing their day-to-day work, he hadn't had the chance to watch and lead them in the field.
"They really did well," Lemens said. "It's a tribute to squad and team leaders and their subordinates trusting their leadership and their ability to work together."
"They help me out a lot," he said. "I'm able to ask them what we should do for training. They're honest with me and that makes my job easier. They tell me what they need to train on and I sit down and we come up with a plan so that they can all train on those specific tasks."
For the Soldiers in Lemens' platoon, this training was a chance to not just integrate their new platoon leader, but also other fresh Soldiers who haven't trained like this before.
"We have a new [platoon leader] out here, kind of a new platoon, and the squads have been changed up," said Pfc. Max Forquer, a radio transmission operator who has been with the unit for 15 months.
"It gives guys who haven't been in these positions before the opportunity to come out here and train," Forquer said of the training.
Forquer has seen a decent number of Soldiers come and go during his time with the unit, so he recognizes the value of training with new Soldiers as they join the team.
"It's good to come out here and just get at it with your platoon and your squad and your team because that's how you build bonds," said Forquer. "That's how you know this guy is capable of this, this guy is not capable of this and you also find out the limits you can push yourself to."
Lemens' and Forquer's will continue to train in the months to come for an upcoming training rotation at a Combat Training Center, where there skills will tested in a large-scale conflict by simulated enemy forces.