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.
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
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
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
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