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84th Division trains units at McCoy in  support of Operation Joint Guardian

Story and Photos By Capt. Jacqueline Guthrie, 84th Division Public Affairs

FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- The 84th Division (Institutional Training) may not be heading to Kosovo anytime soon, but unit members spent a weekend here in June preparing others for deployment.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Hultz (right), 84th Division, tests Spc. Mark Passmore, 432nd Civil Affairs, on the proper way to use a compass.
Staff Sgt. Matthew Hultz (right), 84th Division, tests Spc. Mark Passmore, 432nd Civil Affairs, on the proper way to use a compass.

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 274th Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 334 Regiment, 2nd Brigade (Basic Combat Training), 84th Division (IT) taught basic soldier skills to members of the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 308th Civil Affairs Brigade.

Sixty 432nd Civil Affairs soldiers are preparing for a deployment to Kosovo, according to Barbara Ashley of the Army's Special Operations Command.

The soldiers will depart late summer and serve in Kosovo for approximately six months in Operation Joint Guardian.

The purpose of the deployment is to help rebuild the government and coordinate necessary aid, said Lt. Col. George Tankersley, 432nd commander.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Deegan (right), an 84th Division (IT) drill instructor assists 2nd Lt. Jon Borman, 308th Civil Affairs, with his protective mask in preparation for deployment.
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Deegan (right), an 84th Division (IT) drill instructor assists 2nd Lt. Jon Borman, 308th Civil Affairs, with his protective mask in preparation for deployment.

"We are the liaison between the Army in the field and aid agencies and foreign governments," explained Tankersley. However, in order for the soldiers to fulfill their civil affairs mission, they must hone their basic soldier skills, he said.

And that is what the 84th Division soldiers helped the Green Bay, Wis.-based unit accomplish.

"We are doing part of our annual training requirement," Tankersley explained.

These requirements included qualifying on the M-16 or M-9, completing a land-navigation course, passing common task and physical fitness testing, and performing water survival training. The 84th Division soldiers are experts at training these skills, he said.

"What we did this weekend is essentially what we'll do at BCT (Basic Combat Training)," said Capt. Jim Ashing, referring to their annual training at Fort Knox, Ky. Ashing is the assistant training officer for 3rd Battalion, 274th Regiment, based in Oshkosh, Wis.

The job of the 84th Division's 2nd Brigade is to teach basic combat skills to new soldiers. This year the Oshkosh-based unit is taking on that responsibility at Knox and members of 3rd Battalion, 334th Regiment are helping them.

Staff Sgt. Anthony Radosevich, 84th Division (IT), helps Spc. Jason Hoyt, 308th Civil Affairs, zero his M-16.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Radosevich, 84th Division (IT), helps Spc. Jason Hoyt, 308th Civil Affairs, zero his M-16.

To complete its mission, the Oshkosh unit must provide enough personnel to run a basic training unit for approximately three months, Ashing explained.

The unit does this by rotating personnel every 17 days, however, when the unit needs help filling positions, it relies on this year's support battalion, 3rd Battalion, 334th Regiment, which is what it did during the weekend exercise.

"I did what pertains to my mission," Ashing said about the weekend training.

The company that will conduct basic rifle marksmanship training at Knox is helping the civil affairs soldiers qualify on their M-16s. The soldiers that will do the end-of-cycle testing are teaching common tasks, he explained.

"Since the 334th is providing support this year, they are providing training to the civil affairs soldiers that is not pertinent to BCT," Ashing said.

"Our prime mission is to provide instruction on basic infantry skills, whether it is in a BCT environment, or during a training exercise," said Maj. Brendt Vitale, training officer for 3rd Battalion, 334th Regiment. They provided M-9 qualification, common-task training, land navigation and assisted the civil affairs unit with water survival training.

"The training activities and hands-on instruction were excellent," Vitale said, for the civil affairs soldiers and the drill instructors.

"It tests our proficiency to make sure we are ready to get in front of privates," said Staff Sgt. Sara Gallegos of Company A, 3rd Battalion, 274th Regiment. "It's also good for us to help others."

And helping others is exactly how the 84th Division soldiers received this mission. Both Lt. Col. Carl Willecke, 3rd Battalion, 274th commander and Lt. Col. Timothy Deady, 3rd Battalion, 334th commander, are civil affairs officers and former members of the 308th. When they heard about the upcoming deployment they were eager to help.

The training opportunity was a win-win situation for all involved, said Willecke.

"The mission assignments were tasked based on our lead and support battalion missions. The 3rd Battalion, 274th did those tasks that they were going to execute during AT as a lead battalion and the rest were done by the 3rd Battalion, 334th, a supporting battalion," Willecke said.

"Having the 84th Division (soldiers) conduct the training allowed us to concentrate and complete training rather than running training," said Tankersley.

(The 84th Division (IT), is headquartered in Milwaukee and has subordinate units and soldiers throughout the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Iowa, and Indiana. As an institutional training division, the 84th currently performs a variety of missions in support of the Army school system, also known as TASS. Missions include providing basic combat training and infantry one station unit training to new soldiers and officer training to ROTC cadets. The division personnel also train active- and reserve-component servicemembers in combat-service, combat-service-support, health services and professional-development courses. For more information about the 84th, visit www.84thdivision.com.)

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