By Mr. Gregory Ripps (ARSOUTH)June 20, 2012
Nearly 100 Reserve Soldiers of the 338th Military Intelligence Battalion performed annual training at Camp Bullis, Texas, for the first two weeks of June not only to enhance their warrior and specialty skills but also to get to know one another.
The 338th MI Battalion, a U.S. Army Reserve unit assigned to the 470th MI Brigade at Fort Sam Houston, is headquartered on Camp Bullis. However, its members come from a number of states. A Company is based at Shoreham, N.Y., and B Company, at Lawrence, Kans. Individual Reservists come from as far away as Hawaii and California.
"This is the first time ever that this large of a group [from our battalion], with disparate backgrounds and from all over the country, are meeting here at one time," said Sgt. 1st Class Robin Warden. "It is good to meet our brothers and sisters."
The Reserve Soldiers receive training at their home stations and at other locations, principally at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., as well as at Camp Bullis, but usually not so many of them train together in the same place at the same time.
First Lt. Luke Siebach, B Company commander, said the Reserve Soldiers focused on warrior tasks, such as weapons training, and cultural awareness and cross-level training during their first week. During the second week, they concentrated on enhancing their interrogation and analysis skills, with emphasis on report writing.
"We want the Soldiers to become familiar with the reporting systems they will be using," Siebach added.
A vital element in the second week of training was the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) Detention Training Facility (IDTF), which the 470th MI Brigade maintains and runs on behalf of INSCOM. The facility makes possible realistic, practical exercises allowing the interrogators to interview "detainees" (played by other Soldiers) in booths while the analysts monitor the proceedings from another room. Using the interviews and other information gathered, the analysts learn to put together useful intelligence reports.
Warden pointed out that the battalion was the first unit to use the IDTF, in August 2008, prior to deployment overseas for a year shortly afterward. The battalion utilized the facility for both its mission rehearsal exercise and its certification event.
Warden, who has served in uniform for 18 years, is one of only four Soldiers who have belonged to the 338th MI Battalion since it formed in 2007.
"Today the battalion largely consists of junior enlisted Soldiers," Warden said. "However, the key leadership brings a wealth of experience from other units."
Spc. Stephen Gregory, a member of the battalion for only three months, said he was already favorably impressed by his new unit. In preparation for his anticipated promotion sergeant, he said his supervisor put him in a leadership position.
"I like the way this battalion is run," Gregory said.
However, in the future, the battalion will be bringing its Soldiers together at the IDTF on a regular, more frequent basis.