FORT DEVENS, Mass. -- Soldiers from the 8th Human Resources Sustainment Center, an active duty unit from Fort Shafter, Hawaii, may soon be trading their tropical beaches for the wind and sun blasted sands of Kuwait as they prepare for a deployment overseas.

At Silver Scimitar 2012, the 8th HRSC is being trained by the 3rd and 14th HRSCs. The 14th HRSC is also providing subject-matter-experts as trainers and observer controllers, many of whom are currently deployed to Kuwait and are on temporary orders to serve as instructors during the exercise. Their knowledge represents the latest in human resources doctrine and practices, and provides the "boots on ground" experiences vital to the training.

Silver Scimitar brings together Soldiers from the active Army, Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve for intensive hands on training in human resources operations. Both civilian and military instructors volunteer from all Army components and multiple agencies within the Department of Defense to share their knowledge and experience with exercise participants.

"This exercise is the Adjutant General's version of [the National Training Center] and [Joint Readiness Training Center]," said Sgt. Maj. Jerome Rice, Directorate Sergeant Major of 8th HRSC. "I believe all HR Soldiers need to come through this [training] because there is nothing more than getting hands-on assistance or knowing who you're going to fall in on, or what you're actually going to do in theater."

Rice noted his repeated visits to Silver Scimitar exercises throughout the years as providing him with the expertise he uses to give his Soldiers tools for success.
"This is my third rotation here. It's definitely given me an insight on what I need to train my Soldiers back at home station. Each year we progress. This year is more hands-on than doctrine, and I think having Soldiers touch a tangible object or system during training makes them retain things a lot faster."

Col. Lynn San Nicolas, 8th HRSC director, has also been to Silver Scimitar before and sees the growth of the event and the inherent value it provides to her Soldiers.

"I participated in Silver Scimitar in 2007, when it was at Fort McClellan, Alabama, and that was a very rudimentary exercise," said San Nicolas. Back then, she said, instruction mostly involved PowerPoint slides and little hands-on training on the systems. "A lot of classroom slides, and … constant doctrine over and over and over. When they got into the systems training, it was maybe 10-to-15 people huddled around one computer watching this system worked by a subject matter expert. Fast forward five years to 2012, and each soldier is sitting behind a system, actually working on the system themselves."

The Soldiers have been preparing for their deployment for some time now, and this recent training has put them in a very good position to maintain their success.

"At first I didn't know what my job was going to be downrange," said Sgt. Loini Paaga, Replacement Staging Onward Movements Sergeant, 8th HRSC. "Here I'm learning what our actual job will be. It was good training coming here, and valuable. After meeting the people from downrange who came here to teach us what they did, I would be interested someday in coming back here and training Soldiers."