FORT SHAFTER FLATS, Hawaii - Taking the new Army Combat Fitness Test, changing a tire on a HMWVV, and loading Army vehicles onto a Globemaster C-17, training all fit into part of one day of intense training for company command team Army Reserve leaders called "How to BA Day," part of the 2019 Pacific Pride Leadership Workshop, recently. The very full hands-on leadership training for 9th Mission Support Command leaders physically and mentally challenged command teams with an active day perfecting the skills expected during a Battle Assembly, the monthly training conducted by Army Reserve Soldiers.
"This day was a full day of activities, filled with classes, blocks of instructions and then actually conducting the actions trained at the same time, to make sure it is understood how to properly conduct each," said Maj. Collin McCoy, 9th Mission Support Command 'How to BA Day' planner. "The training is structured to cover the many aspects of what you encounter during a Battle Assembly and at each part we have subject matter experts to show these leaders how it's done or refresh them, so that the leaders can take it back to their companies and detachments."
America's Army Reserve meets normally just once a month, and the Soldiers in these formations must maintain readiness and focus to support and defend the people of the United States just as their Active Duty counterparts. During BA, USAR Soldiers practice and perfect their military skills and maintain individual and unit readiness in the event of mobilization and deployment. Inevitably, quite a bit is often packed into the two days of training. This particular full day of training showcased to the leaders of those formations standards and what their expectations for themselves and their Soldiers should be within those standards.
"We need to be ready to rapidly mobilize, deploy, and execute decisive action, so out here we have every company commander, every first sergeant, every detachment commander and detachment noncommissioned officer in charge, and the company commander is the senior trainer of the company, he or she is the safety officer, he or she is the senior trainer, so it's imperative that these leaders understand what is required from a good solid day of training," 9th MSC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Douglas Anderson said. "The key here is you have to train hard to be hard."
The leaders signed in, formed up at 4 a.m. and marched to the Fort Shafter Flats Track, where they were given familiarization training with the new Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT, quickly followed by being administered the test. They then marched to the motor pool, and received training in how to correctly conduct a PMCS, or Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services, the standard expectation the leaders have for their Soldiers during weekend training, and then everyone had to show proficiency as well with changing a tire on a HMWVV.
Next, after conducting personal hygiene, the leaders received training on administrative tasks, correctly conducting cyclic inventories, then on to the day's training, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, where they were met with a C-17 Globemaster, Army vehicles to load onto the aircraft and pallets to load as well, with training provided by the Hawaii Air National Guard 673rd Air Base Wing.
"I want us to get into a rapidly deployable rapidly mobilizing mindset," Anderson said. "I wanted the commanders and leaders to see today the power of a Unit Movement Officer and a HazMat (Hazardous Material)certified NCO or officer. They keep your equipment on the airfield or the port or they get it up and running. They are vitally important."
After all this, it was back to the classroom, for how to conduct a training meeting, and, as all Army training should, the day finished up with an After Action Review.
"The biggest benefit to the "How to BA" day was the hands-on exercise doing air load operations," Capt. Dylan Nonaka, company commander, 871st Engineer Company, 411th Engineer Battalion said. "Deployment readiness is a major focus and actually loading gear onto planes is not something that we have regular access to train on."
"Learning about the process, required paperwork, inspections and overall flow of air load operations was highly valuable. The Air Force connections we made will be very helpful in planning similar training for our unit in the future," he said.
Participants also found that by experiencing taking the new Physical Fitness test themselves made them think of what training they will need to implement in their individual units to prepare their Soldiers for it.
"Getting to experience the new ACFT made it very clear that the way we train and prepare both at BA and in between training events needs to change," Nonaka said. "I will immediately work with my NCO that is currently going through the master fitness course to build a plan that will best prepare our soldiers to be successful when the new PT test is implemented."
At the end of How to BA Day, Anderson addressed the team.
"Training is everything and everything is training," Anderson said. "What that means is every single thing we do has a training opportunity and everything we do makes us more ready, more capable and more knowledgable."
"Every one of these company commanders will take back even a few nuggets of information to help make their Battle Assemblies more active, more engaging and more readiness producing."