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August 24, 2012

Training

78th Observer-Controller/Trainers support CSTX training at McCoy

Story by Capt. Sean Casey, Spc. Michael McDevitt & Spc, Philip Scaringi, 78th Training Division Public Affairs

FORT McCOY, Wis. — Expertise and experience assist units as the 78th Training Division organized Observer-Controller/Trainers (OC/T) to oversee units conducting missions during the second Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) held here this year.
PHOTO: Soldiers construct an Improvised Ribbon Bridge. Photo by Spc. Michael McDevitt
Soldiers of the 671st Engineer Company based out of Portland, Ore., construct an Improvised Ribbon Bridge during their Combat Support Training Exercise at Fort McCoy.
(Photo by Spc. Michael McDevitt)

OC/T members are a training team comprised of Soldiers who have recently been deployed overseas and have attended the OC/T academy. OC/T Soldiers act as mentors, coaches, and evaluators for units conducting training missions. The units are observed and evaluated by the OC/T team to determine their mission readiness.

As Soldiers of the 671st Engineer Company based out of Portland, Ore., constructed an Improvised Ribbon Bridge (IRB) during their CSTX at Fort McCoy, they were under the careful eye of an OC/T team.

The team observed the 671st throughout the day, from morning mission briefs to tactical convoys both to and from the mission site, to an After Action Review at the conclusion of the training exercise.

Having non-organic observers like the OC/Ts on-hand during a unit’s training allows for commanders and Soldiers to receive an objective review of their unit’s readiness, which allows for shared knowledge to be spread amongst the force.

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Joshua Gallup of the 492nd Engineer Company based out of Mankato, Minn., is a designated OC/T team member who was on hand to observe the 671st.

Gallup is a recent graduate of the OC/T academy, a course that is designed to hone the skills of commissioned and noncommissioned officers and immerses them in tactics, procedures, and lessons learned from overseas operations.

In addition to observing Soldiers, Gallup also took part in the training when he purposely leapt from the IRB platform into the lake, creating a ‘man overboard’ scenario.

The 671st sounded its alarm and within 90 seconds Gallup safely was pulled from the lake and placed inside a designated rescue boat.

OC/T teams are an integral part of all large training exercises conducted in the Army Reserve.

Soldiers are able to communicate, learn, and interact with OC/T members face-to-face in real time. By dispersing these subject matter experts throughout the force at ground level, all Soldiers have been able to utilize and benefit from the constant sharing of ideas and information.

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