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August 10, 2012

Training

Paralegals get classroom, field training during McCoy stay

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Reserve-component paralegals from across the Army conducted Paralegal Refresher training at Fort McCoy in Late July to sharpen their technical skills in the classroom and tactical skills in the field.
PHOTO: Soldiers in the Paralegal Warrior Training course train on weapons firing at an engagement skills trainer site. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael A. Waskewich Jr.
Soldiers in the Paralegal Warrior Training course train on weapons firing at an engagement skills trainer site at Fort McCoy. The Soldiers, who are paralegals, did both classroom and field training work.
(Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael A. Waskewich Jr.)

Sgt. Maj. David A. Becker, U.S. Army Reserve Command Paralegal noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Fort Bragg, N.C., said Soldiers participating in the Paralegal Warrior Training event began with a week of classroom instruction, which served as both a refresher and enhancement on information and training on new topics. The second week included a number of field events, such as weapons qualification, land navigation, urban operations, etc. The training event formerly was known as Enlisted Judge Advocate Triennial Training.

Course of instruction included Fiscal Law, Military Justice, and Administrative Separation. Becker said the curriculum was based on topics — both technical and tactical skills — which Soldiers believe they need to be successful at their unit as well as a deployed environment. Many of the Soldiers attending the training will have some type of deployment assignments within or outside the country in the future.

The training formerly was conducted by Fifth Army and held in San Antonio, and was moved to Fort McCoy when Fifth Army’s mission changed.

PHOTO: Soldiers in the Paralegal Warrior Training course train at a Military Operation in Urban Training site. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael A. Waskewich Jr.
Soldiers in the Paralegal Warrior Training course train at a Military Operation in Urban Training site at Fort McCoy. The Soldiers did both classroom and field training during their time at the installation.
(Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael A. Waskewich Jr.)

“The training was moved to Fort McCoy because this location is a premier Reserve training installation,” Becker said. “The installation can support both the technical training and the urban combat training we needed to conduct.”

Units nominate Soldiers to attend the refresher training. Becker said the training helps Soldiers refresh and retain the information and they are encouraged to share the training with their units and act in a train-the-trainer role upon their return to their home units.

Enlisted paralegal Soldiers either serve in a legal unit, also known as a Legal Operations Detachment (LOD), or are embedded in a unit to provide paralegal support, with guidance from their higher headquarters, he said.

Spc. Cole Bonini, a Paralegal Specialist with the 415th Civil Affairs Battalion of Kalamazoo, Mich., said the training offered refresher work in the classroom “to hone our technical skills, followed by field events at the installation ranges, Urban Operations and a foot march.”

Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lupardus, a Paralegal for the 8th Legal Operations Detachment of Kansas City, Mo., said the classroom work served as a refresher for her and gave her the opportunity to qualify with weapons and conduct land navigation training.
“This gives me more experience in being a leader and leading my troops back at my home unit,” Lupardus said. “There are many Soldiers junior to me and I want to be the best leader for them that I can be.”

The training also helps the Soldiers get back into the mindset of serving on active duty and to prepare for future missions, which may include a stateside mobilization to support a mission’s legal needs, Becker said.

PHOTO: Members of a Paralegal Warrior Training course negotiate an obstacle at the Fort McCoy Conditioning Course. Photo by Rob Schuette
Members of a Paralegal Warrior Training course negotiate an obstacle at the Fort McCoy Conditioning Course during their training at the installation.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)

Sgt. Jerome Tjosvold, a paralegal for the 34th Infantry Division of Rosemount, Minn., said he planned to share the information with Soldiers in his National Guard unit. He hopes the training will make him a better Soldier and help him become a better leader.

“I really enjoyed the Fiscal Law training we received,” Tjosvold said. “It helped us learn the role Congress and the president have in fiscal matters and helps us advise the commanders how they can use their budgeted funds.”

Spc. Emily Peņa, a paralegal with the 420th Engineer Brigade of Bryan, Texas, said she enjoyed the  Soldiering aspect of the training, which was similar to premobilization training.

“I only knew one other person here,” Peņa said. “The junior Soldiers and NCOs here will be the future of the JAG corps. I will be seeing a lot of them over the next 10 to 20 years and finishing out my career with them.”

The Soldiers agreed it was nice to have an extended training period, which was a good follow up to the two days a month they train or if they had not received the training recently. Soldiers also could use the training to advance their careers, Tjosvold said.

Also during the training event, Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, Joints Chiefs, observed a portion of the training, and provided additional motivation to continue to achieve higher standards and success throughout their career. 

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