FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. - Department of the Army interns and government employees participated in the Communications- Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center sponsored Greening Course, a program to familiarize civilian personnel with the Soldier environment July 9 to 13 at Fort Monmouth.
The Greening Course provides a basic understanding of the Army through class lectures, discussions with experienced Soldiers and field military activities. The July course included a trip to the Fort Dix battle labs, a land navigation course through the woods, repel training and a helicopter ride.
The process of Greening CERDEC employees started in 2004, by Dwayne A. Davis, former CERDEC lead outreach program coordinator, said Michael R. Tuminelli, CERDEC outreach specialist and one of the Greening program leaders. Aca,!A"This is class number six for me. We do it every quarter. I came in around 2006Aca,!A| Since then weAca,!a,,cve kept on growing, the classes are getting bigger and bigger,Aca,!A? said Tuminelli.
The July class was a mix of 30 DA employees from New Jersey, Virginia and Texas. Many shared the same enthusiasm of learning a little more about the life of their customer, the Warfighter.
Aca,!A"I think the course is valuable. ItAca,!a,,cs good for a civilian to understand the military operation environment, which I havenAca,!a,,ct dealt with much in the past. I know my stuff, computer science and electrical engineering, but this helps me apply it to the military operation,Aca,!A? said Jack S. Li, an engineer with the CERDEC Software Engineering Directorate.
Aca,!A"I came to get a better perspective of the job, to know that what youAca,!a,,cre doing is more than punching a time clock and to know who youAca,!a,,cre supporting and what work they do,Aca,!A? said Kevin P. Smith, CERDEC Acquisition Center.
With a combined 28 years of Army service, Greening leaders Tuminelli and Sgt. 1st Class Derek W. Breuer, CERDEC Headquarters non-commissioned officer, shared their experience with their students.
Aca,!A"The Greening leaders were very knowledgeable. They gave us a good overview on all the subjects they wanted us to know,Aca,!A? said Bryan N. Kilmer, a financial management analyst intern.
Tuminelli and Breuer approached this course with a hands-on mentality and restructured the program.
Aca,!A"In the old course there were certain tours that a lot of the employees for CERDEC had already seenAca,!A| we wanted to change it to more common task type things that Soldiers do. We included land navigation training, the land navigation course, and the repel training for more of an idea of the common type training that all Soldiers do,Aca,!A? said Breuer.
The first day of Greening opened with an introduction to Army structure by breaking students into platoons. PowerPoint displays explained other basic Army information, such as the uniform, phonetic alphabet, and rank positions. The afternoon followed with a crash course in land navigation taught by Sgt. Melanie Reese, CERDEC Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate, to prepare students for the land navigation course that took place Tuesday.
Wednesday was spent at the Fort Dix battle labs, where the class partook in Army simulations and informal interviews with a Military Police battalion getting ready to leave for Iraq. The Soldiers let students try on their body armor, shared stories from the battlefield, and explained what they were going through both physically and mentally.
Aca,!A"This class asked some very personally questions with the Soldiers,Aca,!A? said Tuminelli. Aca,!A"They asked questions such as, Aca,!Eoehow do you deal with deployment'Aca,!a,,c or Aca,!Eoewhat does your family think'Aca,!a,,c Normally, most civilians want to know about the cool things that happen, Aca,!Eoewho rides in helicopters'Aca,!a,,c or Aca,!Eoewho blow things up'Aca,!a,,c That wasnAca,!a,,ct the case with this class. They really wanted to find and put a personal touch on their questions and I think the Soldiers really appreciated that.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"One of the really cool things about the Fort Dix visit, is that while we got to use the simulators, what was most interesting was watching them, as teams, use the simulators because they had the team work down and you watched them communicating with each other and you really got a sense of what they go through to prepare,Aca,!A? said Katherine C. Amsler, procurement coordinator in the Command and Control Directorate.
Thursday, willing members of the group repelled over a 32 foot wall at the Fort Monmouth fire department. This new addition to the Greening Course received a lot of positive feedback.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a good team building event; they really have to rely on each other. You have to rely on your belay guy to make sure that you donAca,!a,,ct fall and hurt yourself. It seemed like great training,Aca,!A? said Breuer.
After repelling the students got a taste of long-lasting packaged Army food, called Meals Ready to Eat, and ended the day with a critique of the course and a Greening social.
Aca,!A"We take the critiques that they do at the end of the class and look at those. If thereAca,!a,,cs a common theme that something is just a waste of time, weAca,!a,,cll try to get rid of that and if thereAca,!a,,cs something that they say we can do better, we definitely try to add that. The course is based off the student responses,Aca,!A? said Breuer.
The Greening Course concluded Friday with the graduation and presentation of certificates from Gary Martin, CERDEC technical director. Col. David M. Moore, CERDEC military deputy director, also offered his congratulations to the Greening Course graduates. After the graduation, students rode in an Army Aca,!EoeHueyAca,!a,,c helicopter. Students took flight in small groups with experienced Army pilots over the Long Branch coast and up towards the bottom of Sandy Hook.
After landing, the now Aca,!A"greenedAca,!A? DA employees said their farewells and thanked the Greening leaders for the opportunity.
Aca,!A"The course is so much fun. You get a great understanding of what the Army really is, what they go through, and the different training mechanisms. You also get a greater appreciate for the things that are second nature to the Soldiers. I wish I could take it again,Aca,!A? said Danielle C. Seaman, contract specialist.