News: 1-24th Infantry builds a better fighting force
Story by Sgt. Michael Blalack
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division conducted a team-leader course on Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Jan. 13-16 in order to develop junior leaders in preparation for future operations within the Army’s Pacific Command area of operations.
The course consisted of both classroom and field exercises with instruction on the administrative tasks of junior leaders, as well as well as tactical and operational skills.
“We’re not only preparing our younger soldiers for the responsibilities that come with leadership positions,” said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Simmons, platoon sergeant for A Company, 1-24th Infantry, “but also making sure that our standard operating procedures are uniform throughout the battalion so that our leaders can easily move from one company or squad to another seamlessly.”
After two days of classroom training focusing on legal, behavioral health, counseling and other administrative duties, the students and instructors moved to Fort Wainwright’s Combined Arms Training Facility for squad- and team-level maneuvers, including movement fundamentals, clearing procedures, and other battle drills.
“It’s been a little overwhelming,” said Pfc. Luke Niemela, an infantryman with A Company, 1-24th Infantry. “We’ve covered a lot, from how to do the day-to-day things like counseling and assisting your soldiers with legal or financial issues, to how to lead a squad into combat. It’s one thing to follow and watch, it’s another to actually do it, to understand everything that’s going on. It has been a good experience and I’m sure we’re going to become not just better leaders, but better soldiers as a result of it.”
The battalion started each day of the exercise with challenging physical training led by the battalion command sergeant major and the company first sergeants.
“It’s all about building leaders and a more cohesive team,” said Simmons, “and ultimately, through improving tactical knowledge and leadership skills, a better and more well-trained fighting force.”