[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                               September 25, 2009
Mobilization

Army Warrior Task training
critical for Soldier survival

Story & photos by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems and Services

“Teaching Soldiers basic survivability techniques.” That is the way Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Ziemann summarized items on the Army Warrior Task (AWT) list that mobilizing Soldiers spend time learning during their mobilization training at Fort McCoy.

Ziemann, who is with the 181st Infantry Brigade that conducts mobilization training at Fort McCoy, is one of the noncommissioned officers-in-charge of the AWT block of mob training.

Photo: Staff Sgt. John Rowe, an observer-controller-trainer with the 181st Infantry Brigade, explains detainee operations to a group of Soldiers form the 16th Engineer Brigade during training at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Staff Sgt. John Rowe, an observer-controller-trainer with the 181st Infantry Brigade, explains detainee operations to a group of Soldiers from the 16th Engineer Brigade during training at Fort McCoy.

“We teach Soldiers how to be proficient in basic tasks and how to react immediately to and survive threat situations,” he said.

Mobilization AWTs, patterned after basic Army standards, include individual movement techniques, radio and hand communication procedures, advanced first aid, claymore mines procedures, nuclear-biological-chemical facemask familiarization, mounted and dismounted land navigation and individual movement techniques.

Some AWTs, such as weapons functionality and qualification, and many required AWT briefings, are taught in separate blocks, Ziemann said.

Staff Sgt. Edward Swartz instructs Soldiers on the Defense Advanced Global Positioning System Receiver (DAGR) system, a hand-held device used by individual Soldiers to determine their location and how to navigate to other points on a map. The DAGR is a refined and enhanced version of the civilian GPS equipment on the market.

The importance of the DAGR to Soldiers is “so they don’t get lost on a mission,” Swartz said. “It is very important so a Soldier can determine locations of friendly forces and enemy forces and to report to higher commands or to call in medevacs. DAGR tells you where you are, where you are going and how to get there.”

Swartz is one of the 181st’s observer-controller-trainers (OCT) who also instructs mobilizing Soldiers how to operate the SINCGARS, the single channel ground and airborne radio system, and the Harris radio system that is a newer version of SINCGARS.

“We teach the basic operation of the radios,” Swartz said, “that is the basic method of communicating in the Army in tactical situations, and that’s very basic to success of any mission.”

Photo: Staff Sgt. Christopher Williams, an observer-controller-trainer with the 181st Infantry Brigade, helps Pfc. Eugene Park and Lt. Col. Jane Lengel, both of the 16th Engineer Brigade of the Ohio Army National Guard, learn about the Defense Advanced GPS Receiver. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Staff Sgt. Christopher Williams, an observer-controller-trainer with the 181st Infantry Brigade, helps Pfc. Eugene Park and Lt. Col. Jane Lengel, both of the 16th Engineer Brigade of the Ohio Army National Guard, learn about the Defense Advanced GPS Receiver.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Williams, also a communications OCT, said Soldiers are taught how to make any of several reports on the radio, to report enemy positions, locations of explosive hazards and the very important “nine line” medical evacuation report that gives command and communications vital information about wounded Soldiers, particularly where to come to evacuate them. “Radio communication paints the picture for all Soldiers in the unit, those beside you through to the command structure, so everyone can and will work together, to be ready for any contingency,” Williams said.

Detainee operations, with the extreme sensitivity of how a Soldier handles a suspicious individual, is one of several subjects taught by Staff Sgt. John Rowe.

“Soldiers detain individuals to obtain intelligence. Soldiers search the individual’s body for weapons,
explosives and any potentially harmful items,” Rowe said. “We do not capture or arrest detainees, they are not prisoners. But we must control them and not violate their customs and traditions. That’s all important in country-to-country relations.”

Another important AWT skillset taught is fundamentals of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), according to Staff Sgt. Thomas Pawlak.“This is new this year to mobilization AWT,” he said. “It is just a familiarization to CPR techniques, not a full certification of a person going through the complete requirements.”

Pawlak primarily instructs first aid at AWT. As a civilian, he is a paramedic-firefighter at the Chippewa Falls Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic. “We instruct on the new combat tourniquet application, use of the new emergency trauma dressings and the new chest decompression techniques.”

“We teach Soldiers how to use the items in their emergency medical kits,” Pawlak said. “Primary techniques are to control hemorrhaging (bleeding), to control tension pneumothorax (penetrating chest wound that disrupts lung function) and to assisting with airway problems.”

“If a Soldier controls these three items,” Pawlak said, “the assisting Soldier increases the chance of survival of the injured Soldier by about 15 percent. That’s obviously very important to that injured Soldier’s survivability.”

 

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