Fort McCoy News July 25, 2014

Paralegal Warrior Training Course builds troops' skills

10th Press Camp Headquarters

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Ninety-five Soldiers from several Army Reserve and National Guard units from across the nation arrived at Fort McCoy, Wis., Friday, July 11 to take part in the Paralegal Warrior Training Course (PWTC).

Photo 1 for paralegals article
Paralegal Soldiers help one another put on equipment for the Dismounted Soldier Training System during training in the Paralegal Warrior Training.

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Students in the course help one another adjust their Fighting Load Carrier (FLC) during training. The FLC was used in all tactical aspects of the Paralegal Warrior Training Course to simulate battlefield conditions.

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A paralegal Soldier prepares to use the Dismounted Soldier
Training System during training at Fort McCoy.

PWTC is designed to train U.S. Army paralegal Soldiers from private to master sergeant to support legal operations of the U.S. Army Reserve and the U.S. Army National Guard.

The course focuses on military justice, administrative separations and operational law.

Students are taught in three phases. Phase I consists of classroom presentations and group discussions on skills that help them gain better insight and sharpen their existing legal skills to more effectively assist their commanders and military attorneys.

"I hope to refresh on what I learned in advanced individual training (AIT), and I hope to learn new skills to take back to my unit," said Spc. Megan Hopkins, a paralegal specialist from the 365th Engineer Battalion of Schuylkill Haven, Penn.

Phase II split up students into groups of 30 to 40 Soldiers where they simulated legal office operations.

The instructors act as clients and commanders in order to challenge students with legal-based questions and scenarios they would likely encounter as a paralegal specialist.

"During this course, the most important thing I will take away will be learning exactly what our job consists of; that way we can define what our roles as paralegal specialists are and be able to better assist our commanders," said Spc. Katelynn Prater, paralegal specialist from the 385th Transportation Battalion of Auburn, Wash.

The third and final phase is a three-day field training exercise where students are taken to a large simulated village.

There, students must operate as they would in a legal office during a deployment.

Students also run simulated combat missions against opposition forces, are forced to make decisions under pressure, and implement Soldier skills to accomplish the mission.