By Staff Sgt. Nazly Confesor (First Army)February 12, 2016
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (Feb. 12, 2016) -- As the Middle Atlantic States recovered from the massive blizzard that recently stalled the East Coast, Army Reserve units from across the United States arrived here to participate in Warrior Exercise 78-16-01, which occurred, Jan. 23 through Feb. 6.
More than 3,000 Army Reserve Soldiers participated in and reacted to various attacks, incidents and obstacles similar to situations they might encounter in a combat environment. Chemical, Engineer, Quartermaster Companies, and Ordnance Reserve units partook in this exercise.
"Due to the inclement weather here, there was a shift in the WAREX timeline, but it didn't stop us from providing reserve units with realistic training, as if they were deployed overseas," said Capt. Nicholas Gauvin, an Observer Coach/Trainer and logistics officer assigned to the 4th Cavalry Brigade out of Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The WAREX was supported with Soldiers from the 78th Training Division, an Army Reserve unit located in Fort Dix-Maguire-Lakehurst, New Jersey and the 4th Cavalry Brigade, a First Army Division East unit.
First Army OC/Ts were on the ground during the exercise to facilitate, assist and evaluate National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers and to carry on First Army's mission of enabling reserve-component readiness and building partnerships with National Guard and Reserve units.
Capt. Walter Level, commander of the 733rd Maintenance Company out of Canton, Illinois, said meeting Gauvin at the end of the WAREX planning conference, a few weeks before the exercise, was crucial to their partnership.
"What I really enjoyed so far is that Capt. Gauvin and I have been staying in constant communication about the challenges we are facing due to the weather and the pending scenario injections," he said.
Many of the WAREX scenarios were aligned with training objectives selected by commanders and offered a realistic experience for Soldiers awaiting to or returning from a deployment.
"These training exercises are here to help Soldiers who just graduated out of advanced individual training and those who are about to go on a deployment for the first time to see what they can expect," said Spc. Justin Taylor, a military police officer assigned to the 352nd Military Police Company, out of Rockville, Maryland. "My unit is here to help out another military police unit, which is expected to deploy, to give them an idea of what is going on and what to expect overseas."
The 21-year-old Calvert County, Maryland, native just came back from a deployment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and said the WAREX training was similar to the situations he faced while deployed.
In addition to observing and evaluating training units, OC/Ts also offer guidance based on their own experience in particular fields and knowledge of Army's standards. Most of the WAREX OC/Ts -- a mix of active- and reserve-component Soldiers -- came from 4th Cavalry Brigade.
"As a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist, I hope the Soldiers of the 377th Chemical Company receive quality training with the best AARs and take-home packets from me and other fellow OC/Ts, so they can go back home and look at their assessments," said Sgt. 1st Class Joi Friend, an OC/T assigned to 1st Squadron, 409th Regiment (Cavalry), 4th Cavalry Brigade. "These training exercises keep them on their toes and reiterate the basic Soldier skills. We are the force that fights, and we must fight together as a whole."