[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                        May 23, 2008

RTC-North reflags, prepares 
for premob troop influx

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      Soldiers from Regional Training Center-North (RTC-North) held a reflagging and repatching ceremony May 9 at Fort McCoy Parade Field 1, to commemorate the activation of the RTC-North, which became operational May 12 when its first three-week premobilization training cycle began.

Photo: The RTC-North color guard presents the American flag and the RTC-North flag during a reflagging/repatching ceremony. (Photo by Bill Kern)
The RTC-North color guard presents the American flag and the RTC-North flag during a reflagging/repatching ceremony. 
(Photo by Bill Kern)

      Maj. Gen. James Mallory, the commanding general of the 108th Training Command, said the unit has had a proud 62-year history. The new mission is to prepare warriors from the U.S. Army Reserve through training at Fort McCoy to deploy into harm's way, wherever they are sent in the world.

      The mission began in late 2007 when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced a 12-month-boots-on-the-ground tour, which caused the Army to relook how it trains deploying Soldiers.

      Under this policy, Reserve Soldiers no longer have long lead times to train before they deploy. Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz said some of the training would have to be done in a pre-mobilization status. This is training members of RTC-North are uniquely qualified to provide.

      "When General Stultz asked who could do this training (at a meeting), I said drill sergeants can," Mallory said. "He said, 'You're right. You are the trainers of basic combat skills.'"

      "That's what our Soldiers are required to be efficient in before deploying," Mallory said. "(This training) is the last time they will get it before they are deployed so the burden's on you."

      The training is a critical enabler to allow unit commanders to verify their Soldiers are trained in the skills they need to meet Army standards, he said. The same training already has been done at other RTC sites at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., and Fort Dix, N.J. Mallory said Soldiers training at those sites had made very appreciative comments about it.

      Col. David Mooney, commander of RTC-North, said the staff worked hard to develop the RTC-North concept from scratch, and it took the efforts of many personnel, including those gathered at the Parade Field for the ceremony, to get the organization up and running.

Photo: Members of RTC-North affix their new unit patches during a ceremony at Fort McCoy Parade Field 1. (Photo by Bill Kern)
Members of RTC-North affix their new unit patches during a ceremony at Fort McCoy Parade Field 1. (Photo by Bill Kern)

      RTC-North includes drill sergeant companies, a Small Arms Readiness Group, opposing forces and observers/controllers/trainers.

      Members of RTC-North are Army Reserve Soldiers who have been mobilized to provide pre-mobilization training. The training will focus on individual tasks to help prepare Army Reserve Soldiers for deployment.

      Both Mallory and Mooney pledged that RTC-North will work to ensure that the organization does everything possible to ensure no training time is wasted as Soldiers prepare for future mobilizations.

      The organization recently was notified that $11.4 million in funding has been dedicated to renovate buildings in the installation's 600 block to support the operations. RTC-North currently is operating out of interim facilities in the installation's 700 block.

      "The future is bright for this mission," Mooney said. "The support of the installation, including Major General (James R.) Sholar, Senior Mission Commander, and Garrison Commander Colonel (David E.) Chesser and Garrison Command Sergeant Major Command Sergeant Major (M. Kevin) Dubois, will be key to us accomplishing our mission. We thank the installation for its efforts."

      Mooney said he also asked Soldiers in the organization for quotes that helped explain their mission.    Two from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Confucius stood out, he said.

      Emerson's quote was, "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Mooney said this was very appropriate for an organization developing a training unit and plan from scratch.

      The other quote was from Confucius: "To lead an untrained people to war is to throw them away." Soldiers have to be ready for their missions, Mooney said.

      Staff Sgt. William Alberter of the 108th said he was at the Fort McCoy Parade Field two years ago as part of a multinational task force preparing for deployment when Mallory addressed that unit.

      "I think this is a good direction the Army Reserve is going in," Alberter said. "We should have been doing it long ago."

      Maj. Doyle Wadhams of the S-4, Supply, of the 108th said many of the personnel from RTC-North have been deployed, and they will share their experiences with Soldiers going through the training to help them prepare for future deployment.

      "It's exciting to create a unit from scratch," he said. "Like the general and colonel said, 'we have to make every second of training count.'"

      Master Sgt. Cindy Sletten of the S-3, Intelligence for RTC-North, said the personnel involved in the ceremony respected Army traditions and were looking forward to training the upcoming Soldier rotations.

(See related story)


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