|By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command (USARLC), which is
headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., view Fort McCoy as an excellent
location to conduct the survivability and legal training necessary to
accomplish their mission.
Members of the U.S. Army Reserve
Legal Command train on tactical movements at Fort McCoy.
Soldiers from the unit conducted a functional training exercise
as a culmination of the training they received at Fort McCoy in
April. (Photo by Capt.
Lt. Col. Christopher Hedrick, USARLC officer in charge/commander,
said the Soldiers conducted an eight-day training session at the
installation from April 14-21.
The scenarios were designed to help
train junior enlisted and noncommissioned officers (NCOs), who also
serve as paralegals, and first lieutenants and captains, who serve
Hedrick said the command’s Soldiers are located throughout the U.S.,
so Fort McCoy is an excellent training site because of its central
location. The installation’s training areas, facilities and customer
support also are a big factor in the command’s decision to train
here. The training support of the 3rd Battalion, 339th Infantry
Regiment of the 95th Division of Neenah, Wis., also is an incentive
for the unit to train here, he said.
“We have access to weapons, equipment and vehicles here (from
Equipment Concentration Site-67) so we don’t have to bring them,”
Hedrick said. “The most important thing is that when we ask to do a
certain type of training, no one said ‘no you can’t do that.’ They
do everything they can to make it happen.”
Soldiers in the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command train on urban
combat tactics of clearing a room during a scenario, which
helped prepare them for a functional training exercise at Fort
McCoy. (Photo by Capt.
Of the installations where they have trained, Fort McCoy also
offers the unit the best mix of ranges, training facilities, and
training opportunities, he said.
Unit members used simulation facilities, such as the Engagement
Skills Trainer, the Medical Simulation Training Center and the
Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer, to prepare for training.
Hedrick said they also conducted convoy training, improvised
explosive device training and Soldier skill training, such as land
navigation, during their time at Fort McCoy. The training culminated
in a functional training exercise (FTX).
Sgt. Maj. Carlos De Jesus, the USARLC senior enlisted leader, said
the training helped develop unit NCOs and reinforce Soldier skills.
“This training is something lawyers and paralegals don’t do every
day,” De Jesus said. “They did a lot of convoy operations, platoon
movements and communications.”
Every subordinate unit has its own training to work on during the
year, and it is all put together during the FTX.
Sgt. 1st Class Peter Valitchka, a drill sergeant with the 3rd,
339th, said his unit provided intensive training support.
Unit members had served at Fort McCoy as part of the former Regional
Training Center-North (Central) organization, which supported
premobilization training, and have a lot of expertise through
training or deployments, he said.
Valitchka said unit members taught many of the premobilization
courses, such as land navigation, to the USARLC members. The
Soldiers learned land-navigation techniques as a preparation for
“It was brand new to a lot of them,” he said. “Everybody learned how
to maintain integrity of their units, and they were put in control
so they knew what they were doing.”
Spc. Jana McCall, a paralegal with the USARLC 12th Legal Support
Organization of Fort Jackson, S.C., said the land-navigation
training helped her learn to read a map and find her way and helped
prepare her for convoy training, where she trained as a driver and
in gunnery operations.
“I learned a lot and am ready for future missions, including
potential deployments,” McCall said.
Spc. Orsic Whyte, a paralegal from the 87th Legal Organization
Detachment of Salt Lake City, who served as a 13B (artillery) cannon
crew member and is a combat veteran, said he used the training as a
“The training has helped other unit members improve their Soldier
skills,” Whyte said. “They get more of a sense of what goes on on
the battlefield and how to navigate their way around it.”
Spc. Melinda Evans, a paralegal with the 153rd Legal Organization
Detachment of Philadelphia, said the drill sergeants were very
helpful in breaking down the different aspects of training and
helping the inexperienced Soldiers.
“I had never been in a Humvee before, so I got experience as a
driver and operating as a gunner,” Evans said. “Serving as an
assistant convoy commander I could observe how convoys operate.”