By Ms. Alexandra Shea (IMCOM)August 15, 2019
Fort Jackson personnel may see an increase of Navy personnel across the installation and training grounds this summer. These sailors are participating in training provided by Task Force Marshall as they prepare to mobilize to various theaters of command around the globe.
Reservists from the 4th Battalion, 323rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division, out of Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, mobilized drill sergeants and support staff earlier this year to take the lead of Task Force Marshall.
Established in 2006, TFM trains Reserve Navy personnel in a specific list of tasks and skills set forth by theater commands to prepare the sailors to mobilize and join their active-duty counterparts.
"Since around 2006, approximately 34,000 sailors have been trained to-date," said Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph "Joe" Winchester, Task Force Marshall's senior enlisted leader. "These are all sailors mobilizing to a central command area of responsibility as well as Africa command."
TFM Soldiers have roughly two-weeks to train the sailors in Soldier tasks and skills. Their main focus of training includes marksmanship with an M9 and M4 weapons, vehicle roll-over training, day and night land navigation, convoy operations and casualty combat care.
Soldiers are familiar with Warrior Tasks and Drills, however sailors are not. Specializing in technical skills for water warfare, sailors are not used to the battlefield tactics on land. Here is where TFM demonstrates their expertise.
"Some of these guys have never touched an M4 in their life," said Lt. Col. Umaporn McInnis, Task Force Marshall commander. "The sailors are experts in their fields but not in Soldier skills."
Of the two-week training cycle, about seven days are spent familiarizing the sailors to the M4 rifle and proper shooting techniques. The sailors will qualify with the M4 in addition to their usual annual M9 weapons qualification. The remaining time will be spent focusing on small unit tactics.
"I'm deploying soon so I think (the training) is good and is definitely proficient," said Master at Arms 3 Megan Gonzalez, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, California. "I feel like a lot of sailors haven't dealt with weapons before but the efficiency of the trainers here is really helping them become more comfortable. My job deals a lot with weapons so while I have seen everything here before, it's definitely a good refresher for me."
Gonzalez's military job is similar to the Army's military police. She is an individual augmentee from her home unit.
The training ends with a culminating exercise where the sailors are tested on their ability to react to enemy forces on the battlefield and how they work as a team to overcome them. Once completed, the sailors will recover their equipment and be on their way to join their counterparts in various locations across the globe. For TFM, they reset to begin receiving their next training rotation.
"We are receiving about 120 sailors per (training) cycle but we are ready to train 180 sailors," Winchester said. "We provide 100 percent of our own support."
The team of trainers include Reserve drill sergeants as well as veteran contractors providing training support.
Task Force Marshall's motto is "Best I have" and Winchester said his Soldiers emulate the motto by offering the best they have to give to the training mission.
"These guys bring something to the table that active-duty doesn't have such as different viewpoints and perspectives. We have a very sharp crew. It's not every day you can wake up and say 'I get to be with a great unit'," Winchester said. "I can say that right now so I'm pleased."