|By Capt. William B. Curto, 3rd, 335th Training
The 3rd, 335th Training Support Battalion
(TSBN), also known as the “Blackhawks,” provides training to National
Guard and Reserve units at Fort McCoy that are deploying in support of
Overseas Contingency Operations.
The Blackhawk Battalion is mobilized from Fort Sheridan, Ill. The
majority of the Soldiers are from the Chicago area, and the gaps are
filled by active-duty personnel, as well as National Guard and Reserve
Operation Warrior Trainer (OWT) Soldiers from all over the United
The 3rd, 335th TSBN has a few key areas of emphasis.
Observer-Controller-Trainer (OCT) teams plan and conduct post
mobilization training in accordance with training guidance from U.S.
Army Forces Command, First Army, and Southwest Asia, and the 181st
Infantry Brigade commander’s intent.
Liaison Officers (LNOs) decipher the training guidance and steer
mobilizing units through the post mobilization process to get the units
The LNO team is also responsible for developing, planning, and executing
units’ Mission Readiness Exercises. This realistic, kinetic training
event tests the units in their wartime mission — culminating their
individual and collective training in a five- to seven-day event.
Finally, the company and battalion staff do their best to keep the unit
functioning and mission ready.
The Blackhawk OCT teams conduct six distinct training events: Short
Range Marksmanship, Live-Fire Shoot House, Counter IED-Defeat, Light
Scout Gunnery, Mounted Combat Patrol (MCP), and an MCP Live-Fire
This spring and summer, the Blackhawk LNOs have assisted 11 units
comprised of more than 700 Soldiers during the mobilization process.
The OCT teams have trained more than 5,200 Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen
on the various training lanes since this spring, with a few thousand
more at the doorstep during the fall and winter.
As the Overseas Contingency Operations continue to change, so does the
mission of the 3rd, 335th TSBN. The unit’s mission is to train Soldiers,
Sailors and Airmen on post mobilization tasks to ready them for their
This winter will mark the first time that the 181st and the 3rd, 335th
TSBN will conduct post mobilization training in winter conditions. This
challenge will be welcomed by the Soldiers on the training lanes.
Many units scheduled to mobilize through Fort McCoy in the fall and
winter will operate in Afghanistan. The terrain and conditions at Fort
McCoy will offer good preparation for the Soldiers of these units.
The Soldiers of the 3rd, 335th Blackhawk Battalion will be ready to “Set