FORT HOOD, Texas - U.S. Army Reserve instructors work daily to train and prepare Soldiers to perform a multitude of jobs, and for those assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 94th Training Division, this is one of the most gratifying and humbling assignments available.
"I get a lot of gratification in instructing because a lot of my past assignments have basically been me just doing reports and ensuring other people are doing their job," said Sgt. 1st Class Walter Egan, an instructor of the 3rd BDE, 94th TD. "Here I get to have an influence on young Soldiers and NCOs and get to teach them skills they will likely use in the future."
Along with four additional senior noncommissioned officers, Egan served as an instructor for the latest H8 additional skill identifier course at the Regional Training Site-Maintenance here Nov. 5-22, 2017.
During the course, Soldiers trained to operate and maintain recovery vehicles and how to use standard procedures to rig and recover wheeled vehicles.
For Sgt. William Baker, a student enrolled in the course and assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, said he has a great appreciation for the course and is learning plenty about his ordnance career field.
"I'm fairly new to maintenance and being a mechanic," said Baker. "I'm learning a lot and plan to take some stuff back to my unit like the major recovery methods. Things like actually pulling the vehicle out and the calculations you have to go through to make sure you're properly doing, to not cause more damage."
In addition to learning about the different aspects of recovering track and wheel vehicles, Baker has started to consider becoming an instructor.
"I think it's always interesting teaching new and younger Soldiers the proper way of doing things," said Baker.
Egan knows firsthand about going from student to instructor because the topic was first brought to his attention when he was attending a course at the schoolhouse.
"I became an instructor actually because they asked me to when I was a student here for advanced leaders course," Egan said. "I was previously approached by a career manager about being an instructor, but I wasn't having it until I came here when they personally asked me."
Despite Egan's reluctance, he eventually decided it was a good idea, and it made sense for him to take on this role.
"Once I got here I really enjoyed the job and gave it everything I had," Egan said. "My perception of an instructor before I got here was that they teach the same thing, the same class over and over again for three years. That's why I didn't want to do it. I didn't know the broad scope I would be getting myself into."
Now, Egan is glad he took that step to become an instructor because he's not only teaching Army Reserve Soldiers, but all components, which he said is essential that all components know how to work together.
"It's important for all components to learn together because that's what you're going to do when you're deployed. It's not just going to be all components but it's going to be all services and could be other nationalities. In the past, I've had to work with Active Duty, Marines, Air Force, French Air Force and German Army," Egan said.
The 3rd BDE falls under the command and control of the 94th TD, and the 94th TD supports the 80th Training Command's mission of more than 2,700 instructors providing essential training to Army Reserve, National Guard and Active Duty Soldiers.
The school's chief instructor, Master Sgt. Paul Lafitaga, echoed similar statements when referencing the importance of training Soldiers from all components to be the most capable, combat-ready, and lethal force.
"The big mission is to make sure we train and support all components. Training is the 94th's and 80th's mission," said Lafitaga. "Within the 3rd BDE, we handle training those in all areas of ordnance."
"There's ordnance in every single unit because there's always equipment in a unit. We play a big part in making sure Soldiers have the qualifications to maintain the unit's equipment that moves Soldiers," he said.
Lafitaga also agrees with Egan that instructing is a rewarding experience. However, it's not for everyone.
"Being an instructor is a great assignment. It's challenging, very challenging. It's a stressful job. I think the important thing about instructors in the end is the quality of instruction you've given to a Soldier, what that Soldier is going to remember after this," he said.