|Story & photos by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems and
“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.
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.”
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
“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