By Spc. Ryan Stroud, 59th Ordnance Bde, RedstoneMarch 19, 2009
The 832nd Ordnance Battalion is the last stop for many trainee Soldiers before they head off to their respective units. So when the chance comes up for these Soldiers to receive extra training to prepare them for a possible deployment overseas, they head off for Warrior Tactical Academy where they will receive a refresher course on their "Warrior Task and Battle Drills."
While at the WTA, trainee Soldiers could face a multitude of scenarios, making preparation for each a vital part of their training mission.
"What we had going on (March 10) was training the Soldiers for the lane they will go on tomorrow. They will be conducting convoy operations where they will be dealing with civilian scenarios and also IED (improvised explosive device) scenarios, all to prepare them of any possible deployments overseas," said Staff Sgt. Alexander Cox, a member of Headquarters & Alpha and also a cadre at the WTA.
"Today's training was to help prepare them with the actual vehicle they will be traveling on and its weapons systems so when they hit the lane tomorrow, the trainees will be a little more efficient," he said. "Basically, this lane they will conduct their mission on will implement their entire warrior task and battle drills. We (the cadre) set up these scenarios so we can observe the trainees and see how they will react to conflict. They will have to have to work together to achieve their mission, whether it's one person providing aid, another pulling guard and everyone else reacting to fire, they have to work together to accomplish their mission.
"They might even have to dismount and take the lane by foot so this training helps refresh older training they received in basic."
The trainee Soldiers also had the chance to educate themselves once again on the "SAW," practicing how to properly load and handle the weapon.
"The 'SAW' (M249 squad automatic weapon) is going to be a weapon these trainees will use in their deployments," Cox said. "I know they get the chance to handle them while in basic training, but it never hurts to go over it again and give the Soldiers more experience with the weapon. It's important that they know how to properly load and fire this weapon and this just gives them a refresh."
While these trainee Soldiers are refreshing on their Warrior Battle Drills, they are receiving expert advice from those who have already been overseas and have seen what works and what will help these Soldiers survive.
"With these Soldiers out here today being support MOSs, (while deployed) we do a lot of convoy operations and (the cadre) try to incorporate a few things we have learned while being deployed and from our experiences from past units," Cox said. "If a Soldier does something that they shouldn't be doing, and you've possibly seen the same thing overseas that wasn't working, we do our best to mention it to the Soldier."
"It's really good to have a 'heads up' before you do anything so with this type of training, we try our best to prepare these trainees with what's going to come," Curtis Lewis, WTA command observer and a member of the Alabama National Guard, said. "We don't want them (deploying) and not knowing what to do out there, we want them ready. All of the cadre out here has different experiences from deployments, so we try to combine all of the best together to properly and efficiently train and help these Soldiers for when they do deploy."