FORT MCCOY, Wis. – Soldiers lined up for dinner at the mobile kitchen trailer, under a late afternoon sun, during the Spartan Warrior Three exercise.
“We usually serve breakfast from zero five hundred until zero seven hundred. We serve 400 Soldiers for breakfast and 400 Soldiers for dinner,” explained Staff Sgt. Jenetta Taylor, Food Service Supervisor, 785th Military Police Battalion, Fraser, Michigan. “Some of the cooks are from different units working together on Spartan Warrior. We start preparing food at zero three hundred in the morning.”
Working together is a primary focus of the exercise.
“If we look at large scale operations, it’s a total Army fight,” said Col. R.J. Hughes, Commander, 181st Multi-functional Training Brigade, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. “The active component, reserve and National Guard must fight together. If that’s how we are going to fight, then that’s how we have to train. It’s truly one team, one fight.”
Standing near the theater detention facility training site was 1st Lt. Patrick Taylor, Executive Officer, 303rd Military Police Company, Jackson, Michigan. He expressed his joy to see Soldiers training again after the disruption created by Covid-19.
“Any opportunity to get in the field with the Soldiers is great. We are focused on readiness,” said Taylor. “Are we ready to deploy? To be able to squeeze some triggers and drive some trucks is great. We want to encourage Soldiers with a great training experience to continue serving in the Army Reserve.”
In addition to military police Soldiers training to process and house enemy detainees, combat support Soldiers were there as well to support mission roles.
“Spartan Warrior Three is to make sure all of the military occupational specialty within the 300th Military Police Brigade are getting trained,” said Capt. Emily Rissman, Battle Captain, 300th Military Police Brigade, Inkster, Michigan, standing in the 24-hour tactical operation center.
“Here the mechanics, trade folks, and supply are all getting real world training. We are doing real world water resupply missions. The cooks are out in the field preparing food. Everyone is living in the woods,” Rissman said.
And Soldiers like Spc. Dominick Dionisi, radio transmission operator, 300th Military Police Brigade were busy handling radio messages coming into the TOC from five battalions in the field. His mission is to keep Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Walker, the battle non-commissioned officer, 300th Military Police Brigade, informed about mission developments.
“Every single radio call is logged,” said Walker. “He (Dionisi) ensures timely and accurate reporting to keep the commander informed of the current situation.”
Overseeing the training, which includes a non-lethal range, leadership reaction course, taser instruction and using the M320 grenade launcher, are the watchful eyes of the observer-coach-trainer.
“One of the most important things the OC/Ts from the 85th (U.S. Army Reserve Support Command) bring is they live the life of a Citizen-Soldier,” said Hughes. “They have the innate ability to connect with fellow reserve component Soldiers. The 85th leverages our reserve component OC/Ts. They give us an insight into our training audience that cannot be replicated.”
OC/Ts are the “eyes and ears” of the commander.
“Soldiers will always revert back to what they know,” explained Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Wendy Lenz, Battalion Command Sergeant Major, 1-338th Training Support Battalion, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. “That’s why training is so important. We must get them out of their comfort zone and train them in a new way. The Soldiers I work with have a wide variety of experience. When they go out and perform the OC/T duties, the training unit views them as subject matter experts.”
Spartan Warrior Three training included a convoy mission on north post.
“It’s good to get out and see what your Soldiers can do on these roads,” said Sgt. 1st Class Doug Mahaney, Squad leader, 1-383rd Battalion, Des Moines, Iowa. “We are keeping good communications and doing recon for future missions.”
Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Steven Slee, 85th USARSC, Arlington Heights, Illinois, also participated in the convoy. He had high praise for the exercise.
“What I liked about Spartan Warrior is they devoted a whole week to retention week. It focused on Soldiers doing warrior type training, said Slee. “It’s training that keeps the Soldiers serving in the Army Reserve.”