[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 10, 2009

3rd, 340th conducts collective 
training events for units

By Capt. Vaughn Thompson, The Real McCoy Contributor

The 3rd, 340th Training Support Battalion (TSB) (a.k.a. Archer Battalion) is one of four training battalions assigned to the 181st Infantry Brigade. The 181stís primary mission is to provide post-mobilization training to units deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan through Fort McCoy.

Photo: A Soldier from the 115th Engineer Company downloads materials for SouthWest Asia Hut construction at Fort McCoy. The training was coordinated by the 3rd, 340th TSB. (Contributed photo)
A Soldier from the 115th Engineer Company downloads materials for SouthWest Asia Hut construction at Fort McCoy. The training was coordinated by the 3rd, 340th TSB. 
(Contributed photo)

The Archer Battalionís primary mission is to conduct the culminating collective training event, the Mission Readiness Exercises (MRX) for battalion- and brigade-sized elements. Units are trained on their mission-essential tasks as well as communications, leadership, and the military decision-making process. The Archer Battalion helps mobilizing units validate their standing operating procedures and troop-leading procedures while conducting their mission-specific operations. They replicate their operating environment overseas as closely as possible by incorporating the current tactics, techniques and procedures in that particular area.

The 3rd, 340th TSB is task organized into four Observer-Controller-Trainer (OCT) teams, each with a specific area of expertise. OCT teams cover vertical and horizontal engineer companies, a forward support company, concrete sections, survey and design sections, and a protective services detail as well as a construction engineer battalion staff.

  The Archer Battalion trains Construction and Route Clearance Engineer Battalions. With this type of mission, the 181st and the other battalions within this training organization have combined forces to make this a truly brigade-wide effort. The Archer Battalion received tremendous support with OCTs from 1st, 338th TSB, a Green Force/Opposing Force section from both the 1st, 340th TSB and 2nd, 411th Logistics Support Battalion.

The first two months of 2009 were spent preparing for this engineer-specific training. This doctrine-based training focused on force structure, equipment, battlefield awareness and command support relationships. In response to the changing operating picture and increased cultural awareness, the Archer Battalion developed realistic scenarios focused on helping the unit understand Iraqi and Afghani culture and customs. Each scenario brought the training unit into contact with Iraqi/Afghani police and army as well as local nationals, which required them to use their assigned interpreters. They also have demonstrated a level of proficiency in dealing with the customs and courtesies to enhance efforts in counter insurgency.

The 844th Engineer Battalionís MRX concluded in May, after which the unit was validated for deployment. Each section within the Archer Battalion provided assistance in making this training event a success. The exercise gave the training unit candid feedback and enabled its chain of command to improve upon their performance.

The Archer Battalion replicates the unitís higher brigade headquarters, responsible for establishing a leadership role, maintaining the battlefield common operating picture and issuing orders for their subordinate headquarters to execute.

They act as a higher-level commander, adjacent unit commander, or liaison officer receiving tactical operations order briefings if required.

The 181st Brigade has worked closely with the Fort McCoy Garrison making the 844th Engineer Battalion MRX a great team effort.

The 844th Engineer Battalion provided the manpower while the installation provided the material resources to complete several improvement projects. Some of the projects include building Southwest Asia huts in the training areas, preparation of a site on Young Air Assault Strip (YAAS) where the unit conducted clearing and grubbing operations of a large area for a future building; and also resurfaced an additional 200 meters of road. Additionally, the concrete detachment built sidewalks and flatwork in the vicinity of the ChalleNGe Academy.

Another company built the first HESCO Bastions on Contingency Operating Location (COL) Freedom to better simulate a COL in-theater.

Finally the survey and design section performed quality control checks of the job sites and developed future site plans at both YAAS and Badger Drop Zone.

(Thompson is the 3rd, 340th Battalion S-4 (Supply) and Logistics Trainer.)


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