311th Brigade Support Battalion conducts challenging tactical training
By: Jamie P. Melchert
Missouri National Guard Public Affairs
FORT RILEY, Kan. - For more than two weeks, Missouri Guard members from the 311th Brigade Support Battalion, of Lexington, stepped-up to take on challenging training and leadership roles during annual training June 5 - 19.
During battle drills, both new and experienced leaders alike worked together to solve problems and to accomplish challenging missions such as tactical convoy operations pitted against a simulated armed opposition force.
"It is a challenge being in a stressful situation and not being fully prepared for it. This was because of the surprise attacks (in the battle drill) and you have to think on your feet," said Sgt. Georgia Griffin, of Warrensburg.
Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly Carter, a 19-year Veteran of the Missouri National Guard from Lexington, is a section leader who described Griffin as an emerging leader with outstanding potential.
"She took charge of her convoy and she did a fabulous job," said Carter with pride.
Griffin was promoted to rank of sergeant less than 30 days ago and she was assigned the role of convoy commander during one of the challenging training events held during annual training.
"It takes a lot to be a leader," added Griffin. "You are not taking orders, you are the one giving orders. You have to be confident in the information you are putting out and not to second guess yourself."
All National Guard Soldiers participate in driver's and tactical training throughout the year, but during annual training at Fort Riley the Soldiers of the 311th were challenged to roll multiple tasks. They learned to work together and to function as a team through rehearsals and training for several tactical scenarios.
For convoy operations, Soldiers were given a mission to drive a route with a convoy M1151 Up-Armor Humvee in a simulated battlefield environment. Soldiers must operate real weapons, the latest communications equipment and they must also be prepared to deal with enemy forces. The instructors run the Soldiers through several iterations, and then just when they are getting comfortable--leaders, roles, and missions were suddenly changed to keep the Soldiers on their toes.
"You have to keep your head on a swivel and you have to be ready for anything," Sgt. Shalich Maglich, of Kansas City.
Maglich, a unit resiliency trainer and a former Marine, said she enjoys helping others to succeed. She took on multiple roles during convoy operations training to include: M2 gunner, assistant convoy commander and squad leader.
"You have to react quickly and safely to the situation at hand," said Maglich about the convoy operations training.
1st Sgt. David Crumby, of Columbia, acted as evaluator during Force Protection events held during annual training. His training involved Forward Operating Base security measures and also involved a notional oppositional force.
"We have a lot of young Soldiers here, so we started out with a crawl/walk phase," said Crumby. "By the second iteration of training, I saw vast improvements among our Soldiers here."
Crumby, a 14-year Veteran of the Active Army, said that this is his third annual training with the National Guard. He said he was very proud of the cohesiveness and work that was accomplished by the traditional Soldiers as well as full-time support staff.
Capt. Jason Stapp, of Oak Grove, is the headquarters company commander and he joined Crumby in praising the work of his Soldiers.
"They showed (during tactical training exercises) that they were able to take command and that they were able to fill any role when they needed to step-up," said Stapp.
"I am very pleased with the planning, preparation and execution undertaken by this battalion during our Force Protection lanes training," said Lt. Col. Mark Worley, 311th battalion commander, of Columbia. "Our Soldiers gained valuable training, knowledge and experience from the multiple scenarios that they experienced here."
"Despite the challenges of multiple schedule changes, the Soldiers of the 311th stayed the course and they completed the training in a realistic Forward Operating Base environment," added Capt. Alan L. Bennett, 311th executive officer, of Bolckow.
In addition to tactical lanes training, the Soldiers of the 311th completed technical training exercises in their respective military occupational fields, qualified with individual and crew-served weapons, and completed over 700 hours of equipment maintenance during this annual training period at Fort Riley.
Posted: 6/21/2010 3:53:28 PM