[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                          May 9, 2008
Training

Command-level battle staff 
must make right decisions

By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor

      Survival, much less success, in battle situations depends on proper decisions being made by a command-level battle staff.

      Making those right decisions, and how, when, where and why, is the mission of one group of trainers at Fort McCoy, the 3rd Brigade of the 75th Battle Command Training Division of Fort Sheridan, Ill.

Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Julie Wells and Lt. Col. Rodney Johnson converse during a break in training outside the Fort McCoy Simulation Facility. Wells is a topograhic analyst with the 420th Engineer Brigade of Bryan, Texas. Johnson is an observer-controller-trainer with the 75th Battle Command Training Division of Fort Sheridan, Ill. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Sgt. 1st Class Julie Wells and Lt. Col. Rodney Johnson converse during a break in training outside the Fort McCoy Simulation Facility. Wells is a topograhic analyst with the 420th Engineer Brigade of Bryan, Texas. Johnson is an observer-controller-trainer with the 75th Battle Command Training Division of Fort Sheridan, Ill. (Photo by Tom Michele)

      Col. Michael Dillard and a dozen senior staffers "locked" themselves up in the Fort McCoy Simulation Facility recently with the battle staff from the 420th Engineer Brigade of Bryan, Texas.

      Using an extensive and intensive system of computers with huge monitor screens, Dillard and his crew conducted a simulated battle that led the engineers through multiple scenarios.

      But the focus wasn't on what or which Soldiers or equipment or support was in place at any instant, but rather the battle staff making the right decisions.

      "We train battle staffs in military operations," Dillard explained. "We conduct action simulations with real data that is going on in real-life theaters."

      "We train Soldiers to be successful. We train Soldiers because they are the major planners of operations," he said. "They must be efficient in planning, then disseminating information that actually is used in executing missions."

      Dillard said, "Battle staff members must be trained to provide appropriate information so Soldiers will execute the mission successfully. The front-line Soldier only benefits if they have the proper information from their command staff."

      "Soldiers must be aware how to articulate information sent to them and then to understand that information," Dillard said. "This is all important because we are accountable to the success of our Soldiers, and we take that very seriously. We train to fight."

      Lt. Col. Ted Weaver, the 75th Brigade's operations officer for the 420th's eight-day Mobilization Readiness Exercise, said his organization's work is important because, "Ultimately, if brigade and staff officers can't come up with good decisions, their Soldiers suffer. So, our staff comes in and helps teach battle staffs to work with each other as a team, to learn drills, to coordinate, to administer and do this on a daily basis."

      Weaver also remarked, "The battle staff people learn that the decisions they make affect a lot of people. That includes the Soldier getting fuel for their vehicles and even getting fed. The Soldier's performance will only be as good as the plan the staff has given them."

      Weaver said the 75th Training Brigade works with and supports the 181st Infantry Brigade, the primary trainers at Fort McCoy for units preparing for deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

(Michele is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)

 

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