By Staff Sgt. Kevin SpenceFebruary 19, 2019
FORT KNOX, Ky. - It was more than bitter temperatures that arrived here Jan. 20.
For three weeks, approximately 160 observer coach/trainers from the 4th Cavalry Multi-Functional Training Brigade coached, trained and mentored more than 200 Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
The OC/Ts from 4th Cav. also oversaw the deployment of nearly 70 Soldiers from the 398th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
It was an opportunity for the reserve component Soldiers to fine-tune their warrior tasks and battle drills, preparing them for missions here at home or overseas.
"Active duty military, we're doing this kind of training a little more frequently than [Army National] Guard and Reserve," said 1st Battalion, 410th Brigade Engineer Battalion team chief, Capt. Lucas Masiarak, "It takes several iterations before you get that unit cohesion and we've seen them progress quite a bit throughout the day."
To build that cohesion, reserve component Soldiers conducted training lanes that included sustainment maneuvers, mounted and dismounted live fire, in addition to real-world scenarios such as reacting to enemy combatants, radiation exposure and rendering aid to a casualty.
"We'll see greater cohesion and we'll see them establish and develop their standard operating procedures," said Masiarak, adding that commanders from the different units will then take the lessons learned and develop their unit SOPs to enhance their training plan back at home station.
However, the rigorous training schedule, development of SOPs and execution of lessons learned did more than just test the reserve component Soldiers.
"The exercise serves a dual-purpose," 4th Battalion, 409th Brigade Support Battalion senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Moreland said. "It's an opportunity for units to complete their annual training [but] it's also used to validate the OC/Ts' ability to run maneuver lanes and essentially train units that are deploying."
As an agile training & mobilization force, adapting to lessons learned is second nature for 4th Cav. Soldiers. "We can go different places and train; we can also bring in units," Moreland added. "Fort Knox itself can host thousands of Soldiers [and we can] effectively train them and prepare them for future deployments if needed."
With so many moving pieces converging on such a small post, what are the lessons learned, and how are they being retained and perfected?
Acting as the commander for the 818th Support Maintenance Company during the exercise, 1st Lt. Brianna Griffin said she personally learned a lot about leadership from the OC/Ts during the exercise.
"When they saw us struggling, they definitely came up to us and tried to give us some guidance," Griffin said.
"In particular, it really helped when they commented on confidence," she said. "I knew it already, but [the OC/Ts] were saying that I knew the knowledge, but I wasn't expressing it. They said I should be more vocal and that was something that I really needed to hear today."
Following the training Griffin reflected on what she learned.
"Today definitely improved our unit cohesion as far as I can tell. Seeing [my Soldiers] deal with different [challenges] showed us what we needed to work on in our unit and take back with us," she said.