By Capt. Lesley Thomas, 639th Contracting Team contract management officerJanuary 9, 2018
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (Jan. 9, 2018) -- Soldiers from the 900th Contracting Battalion partnered with 82nd Airborne Division's Small Unit Ranger Tactics cadre to further advance their warfighter skills Dec. 13 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The goal for the 900th Contracting Battalion's command team was to perform warrior task skills so Soldiers not only become proficient as acquisition professionals but also remain combat ready for any conflict that may occur across the world.
"My unit is focused on readiness," said Lt. Col. Jason Miles, 900th CBN commander. "This was excellent training, and we appreciate all of the support provided by the 82D ABN DIV, which will help us identify and improve any performance gaps."
Staff Sgt. Gregory Gunn, a contract specialist with the 639th Contracting Team, believes that integrating training with the mission partners who possess the critical warfighter skills mutually benefits both organizations.
"The confidence that was reinforced during challenging field exercises permeates all aspects of our profession, and that transfers to the office with organizations we support," Gunn said.
Staff Sgt. Donald Laughlin, one of the lead instructors of the Small Unit Ranger Tactics cadre, said he understands the challenge that Soldiers face when their tactical skills are not used every day. He added that is cadre enjoys training Soldiers in support military occupational specialties.
Soldiers from the 900th CBN received classroom instruction from 82nd ABN instructors before starting the hands-on familiarization on how to read a map by receiving grid coordinates, plotting points, distance and direction. Given the two hour block of instructions, Soldiers were to put what they learned to use by checking their azimuth and pace count before stepping off in the woods. The intervals between points ranged from 600 meters to 1,800 meters.
Soldiers were paired and received four points to which they were to navigate in two hours. Battalion leaders hope to reach a goal of providing trained Soldiers the confidence and opportunity to navigate from one point to another alone in the future.
"Land navigation is a perishable skill," Miles said. "Training events that reinforce the warrior tasks and drills are vital to the readiness of the organization."
Next Soldiers were trained to effectively move as a member of a team, which is an essential element to small unit tactics and the foundation of light infantry organization.
"This was by far the most thorough training that I received," said Sgt. 1st Class Zettie Roberts, an operations NCO with the 717th CT. "We put the classroom instructions to the test, by deploying teams in the field environment."
Capt. John Cross, the 639th Contracting Team leader, assigned teams with different roles in a squad, and the instructor walked them through multiple scenarios. Soldiers had the opportunity to perform the team movement at a slow pace, allowing them the chance to learn and grasp information more efficiently.
The last training event incorporated individual movement techniques and the employment of hand grenades. Soldiers performed three- to five-second rush, low crawl and high crawl. Next they deployed grenades into a bunker and threw hand grenades in a designated location to simulate destroying targets into the open.
"The training continues to get better each year," said Sgt. 1st Class Juvon Allgood, a training NCO with the 419th Contracting Support Brigade.
The 900th CBN, a subordinate unit of the 419th CSB at Fort Bragg, is aligned to provide contracting support for the 82nd ABN DIV. When called upon to deploy, the battalion provides operational contracting support for the division's Global Reaction Force.