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April 27, 2012

Training

U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command conducts FTX at Fort McCoy

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.
PHOTO: Members of the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command train on tactical movements at Fort McCoy. Photo by Capt. Anthony John
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. Anthony John)

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 as lawyers.

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.”

PHOTO: Soldiers in the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command train on urban combat tactics of clearing a room. Photo by Capt. Anthony John
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. Anthony John)

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 convoy-operations training.

“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 refresher.

“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.”

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