By Spc. Timothy Book, The Real McCoy
FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- More than 4,000 servicemembers have
gathered here for a new type of training for the Army Reserve.
Soldiers from the 310th
Expeditionary Sustainment Command, left to
right Pfc. Jason Cluts, Spc. Eric Hein and Pfc. Drew
Kirts, set up shop in support of Patriot Warrior 2008. The
section's responsibility for the exercise includes information
technology. (Photo by
Sgt. Dave Langford)
Patriot Warrior 2008 gathers Army Reserve Soldiers from around
the continental United States, as well as Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam
for a training exercise that simulates combat conditions.
Participants also include a Soldier from the United Kingdom's
Territorial Army, Yorkshire, England.
"Many of the officers and Soldiers at Patriot Warrior are
combat experienced, which provides a challenge in planning and
executing realistic training. I believe we will have met this
challenge and look forward to a successful and, as always, safe
exercise," said Brig. Gen. Walter B. Chahanovich, commanding
general, 78th Training Brigade and exercise director.
"This exercise is the first step in preparing a unit for
its wartime mission," said Brig. Gen. Charles Estes, commanding
general, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
It is not summer
camp for weekend warriors, according to Lt. Col. James Billings,
spokesman for the exercise; the skills they are testing here will be
used in Iraq and Afghanistan soon.
Taking part in Patriot Warrior are engineers, military police,
medical service, logistics and public affairs personnel. The units
train on a variety of tasks specific to their mission. Some of the
tasks include constructing roads and buildings, supplying troops with
food and water, providing medical support for servicemembers and
training security operations.
This is a new approach to preparing Reserve Soldiers for what
they may encounter when deployed, said Col. John McDougall, deputy
exercise coordinator for the training.
Warrior is a war exercise involving CS (combat-support) and CSS
(combat- service- and support-) units in live, collective tasks to
exit the R/T (Ready Train) phase of the Army force generation,"
said Maj. Michael Feeney, 311th Military History Detachment.
"Essentially, it gives Soldiers a chance to practice unit-mission
tasks, such as mobilization, and at the same time, experience in
deploying force protection tasks.
A major component of the exercise will be an,
"OPFOR," or opposing force. Some units will represent a
notional, or fictitious, enemy.
Feeney said, "This will enable Army Reserve combat-support
and combat-service-support components an opportunity to practice
theater operations while carrying out their unit missions in a
realistic environment while providing force protection against a
nonconventional enemy threat."
Patriot Warrior '08 has taken one year of preparation, said
McDougall. "Now, we are in execution phase, and that's where we
want to be."
This is one of two "Warrior Exercises" the Army
Reserve is conducting this year with the support of Fort McCoy. The
Army Reserve is no longer a one-weekend-a-month standby force; it's a
ready and trained Army on call for deployment at all times.
(Book is a member of the 326th Mobile
Public Affairs Detachment.)