By Sgt. Vannessa L. Josey, 158th Infantry Brigade public affairs September 27, 2012
Camp Shelby, MISS. -- With the Active Army drawing down, the Army is committed to keeping Reserve Component Forces postured for activities in the future. Over the summer, First Army Division East trainer mentors worked with Reserve units, helping them hone their collective tactical and technical drills in a war exercise (WAREX) at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett, Ca.
Soldiers of the 158th Infantry Brigade, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Miss., advised assisted and worked to strengthen unit from California and Nevada's war-fighting skills. Their ultimate goal, explained the 158th's commander was to ensure every unit is a capable and versatile force that, when called, can support the combatant commander, regardless of the location.
"The WAREX demanded we bring low-density, high demand skill sets and train the Reservists in their situational training exercises," said 158th Inf. Bde., commander, Christopher S. Forbes. "And that's what the 158 has to offer; good, knowledgeable effective leaders -- trainers."
Until recently, First Army Division East trained deploying expeditionary forces. With the projected drawdown in Afghanistan, they have added contingency expeditionary forces training to their repertoire. Since the reserve forces will not deploy as often as they have over the last decade, the regular, engaging, and realistic training First Army Division East units provides helps to ensure a postured force, ready to deploy in the future.
"We are training the units to be mission ready," said Staff Sgt. Theresa Sutton, a trainer mentor with the 2-351st Infantry Regiment. "We have set a standard and are maintaining that training standard. When the call comes we can be sure the unit we trained is not only validated, but is beyond a doubt ready to deploy and do the job, complete the mission, and come home. That's what this training is preparing them for."
Each Soldier completes tasks and drills during the WAREX in an austere environment that emulates a deployed country. Under the guidance and oversight of the 158th trainer mentorsm the Reserve Soldiers complete tasks to the same high standard demanded during mobilization training.
"We always complete the job no matter what," said Capt. Hector Carrion, 158th Inf. Bde. logistics officer. "That's what we bring to the WAREX. We incorporate the mission of each unit with the need to know how to shoot, move and communicate. We give them the knowledge then let them complete the job in each scenario."
Reservists spend one weekend a month and two weeks a year training with their units. The WAREX allowed Soldiers the opportunity to practice their wartime mission even though they aren't currently scheduled to deploy.
"We bring the real world experience and the real world knowledge to share with the Soldiers. Then, we give them the reigns to complete their operation," said Cpt. Scott Goble, a logistics officer and senior trainer/mentor, with the 2-351st Infantry Regiment.
"We can show them and tell them what to do over and over again," said Goble. "It will stay with them if they are hands-on and do it themselves "And, they are a better prepared for whatever comes. I think we made a difference."