ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Aside from the Greening Program that Team Aberdeen Proving Ground hosts each year on the installation, the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) took a different approach and hosted their first virtual Civilian Greening Course for the ATEC Enterprise via Microsoft Teams from July 27 to 29.
The course was organized by ATEC’s Human Resources Directorate, and was designed to integrate ATEC civilian employees into the Army by exposing them to the military culture, equipment and capabilities, and the values every Soldier espouses in service to our Nation.
“This is a great opportunity for those of you who are new to the Army Enterprise, and for those who may just be new to ATEC,” said ATEC Chief of Staff Sandi Weaver, as she provided opening remarks. “Throughout the course, I encourage each of you to ask questions to those who are speakers, the leaders and to your peers because that is how you learn.”
The course consisted of 82 ATEC personnel, all from within the ATEC Enterprise to include ATEC Headquarters, U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, U.S. Army Evaluation Center (AEC), U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground, U.S. Army Operational Test Command, U.S. Army Redstone Test Center (RTC), U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range and U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG).
The first day of the course provided the participants with an introduction to the Army, ATEC and the subordinate organizations. Participants were briefed on topics such as Army 101, which highlighted the Army mission, vision and command structure, rank structure, values and creeds. In addition, an ATEC Overview was provided to elaborate on the various capabilities within the ATEC Enterprise.
Following the briefings, the participants were introduced to the four noncommissioned officers (NCO), who served as the platoon/breakout room leaders, to include Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Rankins, Staff Sgt. Robert Burke, Staff Sgt. Terrell Summers, and Staff Sgt. Aisea Vave.
“For some people [Civilians], this is the only time they will have the chance to interact with an NCO to hear their stories and experiences with the equipment fielded in the operational environment,” said Alissa Atanasio, human resources specialist at ATEC. “The NCOs are the heart of the greening program.”
In addition to the Civilian and Soldier interaction, Kimberly Dickerson, program analyst with the Munitions and Weapons Division at YPG and participant in the greening program, stated that the course “bridges the gap between testers and the Soldiers.”
“Direct interaction with knowledgeable and engaging active duty personnel remind civilians of the importance of their work, and how their duties contribute to the warfighter,” said Dickerson.
During the second and third day, the participants were broken into four squads, each with an NCO platoon leader, for the hands-on portion.
The first hands-on lesson was the Close Quarters Combat (CQC). CQC is a series of special room and building clearing techniques that can be employed by all Infantry or Special Operations Forces with varying degrees of speed and precision.
Sgt. 1st Class Freddy Figueroa, military evaluator at ATEC, led the second hands-on activity called the Warlord Exercise.
“I gave the squads a set of instructions, with an overview of a random site I picked out,” said Figueroa. “Each squad had to come up with a plan of action on how they would plan to attack the objective. Each NCO platoon leader served as the subject matter expert and guided their squad to navigate through this military style exercise.”
Each squad had the opportunity to present their Warlord executions to Figueroa, the squad leaders and the rest of the squads.
“The greening course was a great opportunity to learn more about the Infantry Soldiers, the men and women who are on the front lines, using the equipment we test day in and day out at the ATEC test centers,” said Christy Barnett, public affairs specialist at RTC, was a participant in the course. “It was also a great chance to interact with other ATEC teammates who work in very different locations while we spent time in our virtual squads."
Andrew Ellis, intern with AEC, said the course solidified some ideals that he already likes to follow. “The radars and systems created to defend this country are at the end of the day, operated by Soldiers. Being able to understand improvements to these systems to make Soldiers’ lives easier as the customer is imperative to having an effective operational system. Even though I cannot always talk to them face-to-face, having the greening course helped me have a general mindset to better understand what they might need.”
At the conclusion of the greening program, the participants received 12 Continuous Learning Points and were provided certificates of completion.
“ATEC's Virtual Greening Program was a Wonderful experience,” said Summers. “I really enjoyed working with the civilian population and introducing them to how things are done in the Army. Most of all, I was delighted being a part of the Dreamers Team and the creation of, "Anything Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing it Right.”