Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fincham
116th Military Intelligence Group Public Affairs
FORT GORDON, Ga.--(May 22, 2009) Soldiers from 116th Military Intelligence Group Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment recently completed the most realistic and challenging training that the unit has ever conducted.
For a unit with little more than parade gear (Soldiers are issued load bearing vests and old Kevlar helmets) and rifles, executing tasks such as convoy operations, military operations in urban terrain, reacting to simulated improvised explosive devices, and conducting route recons were never built into HHD's traditional training schedule.
However, the leadership of HHD set out to change not only the training experience of the unit, but the overall mindset of the Soldiers as well.
"I would love to have more hours in the day and more days in the calendar to conduct this type of training, but that isn't our mission here as the 116th," explained Capt. Adam Moodie, HHD commander. "Our goal was not to make our Soldiers experts in convoy and military operations in urban terrain, but merely to open their eyes and get them into a combat mindset."
Leaders received the operations order roughly two days prior to the exercise, giving them time to request additional information about the mission, acquire additional equipment, and ample time to brief the Soldiers, identify teams and assign tasks.
The entire exercise - from the operation orders to the after action report - focused the leaders and Soldiers at every level on troop leading procedures, executing tasks as a cohesive team and enabled these "non-tactical" support troops to demonstrate their ability to work together as effective and efficient warriors.
"The intent of this training is to get everybody into a combat mindset," Moodie said. "The fact that we induced mental and physical stress on our Soldiers and NCOs will no doubt help them learn and develop as leaders. ... Leaders who can handle mental and physical stress will end up being a great combat multiplier in the "real-world" fight.
The training also served to demonstrate the Army's "one team, one fight" concept. Being a strategic military intelligence unit, the 116th does not have the tactical resources of many units on Fort Gordon.
It was only through coordination with numerous organizations on post and a willingness by other units to support fellow Soldiers, that the training was even feasible. As the HHD commander put it, how realistic would the training have been with no vehicles and no enemy'
"The 513th MI Brigade, specifically the 202nd MI Battalion, was critical in helping us conduct this training," Moodie said. "Not only did they let us use their up-armored Humvees, they trained and licensed us on them and they even provided Soldiers to help us with the opposing forces during the training. ...their help was critical in allowing us to provide realistic training."