News: 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) mentors officers-in-training
Story by Leslie Ozawa
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Cadet Shamyra Daigle was the last to check out of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne), Aug. 17. Since May 21, she and nine other cadets got three weeks of military training under their belts from the brigade. They learned what “boots on the ground” means for a junior officer, before they returned to college life at West Point and ROTC programs from Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, and Hawaii.
For at least the past seven summers, U.S. Army Special Operations Command has placed junior and senior college students in Civil Affairs units, as part of the Army’s Cadet Troop Leadership Training Program. This year, the 95th CAB (A) and its 91st, 96th, 97th and 98th CA Battalions (A) participated in the CTLT program, assigning noncommissioned officers and officers to work with the cadets at ranges, motor pools, camps, and other troop facilities.
“This gives them the opportunity to not only understand the military at large, but also what Civil Affairs does,” said Maj. Stephen Ward, a company commander in the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion.
Ward said all mentoring commands tailor training schedules to ensure the cadets are trained on all tasks included in a training circular, USCC 350-2 Task List. These include serving as a platoon leader, presenting a class, conducting a PT (physical training) session, and become familiar with the administrative, logistical, training and maintenance functions of a company-size unit.
For Daigle and Stephanie Hall, another cadet from Auburn University, company-level training had a distinct civil affairs flavor.
“We wanted to give them a cross section of what we do as CA,” Ward said. “We incorporated them in district stability framework training, gave them introduction to civil information management, and let them participate in a key leader engagement at Camp McCall.”
Daigle said the key leader engagement training was one of the highlights of her time at Fort Bragg. “It was different. It was like you were on a four-man team, talking to someone about their country, supporting their country, or whatever is the commander’s intent.”
During the training scenario, Daigle and Hall took the role of a Civil Affairs Team to meet with a Mandarin-speaking village mayor and interpreter, to learn what was needed in the village.
“I didn’t know what to do," Daigle said. “Do I look at the person who was the interpreter or the actual person that was asking the questions? It’s really different from the regular Army, a lot more human interaction.”
A Civil Affairs Team medic, who first met Daigle and Hall as fellow students in a civil information management training session, was assigned to give the two cadets a concentrated dose of training in tactical combat casualty care.
The medic said Daigle did well. Daigle was a human resources specialist before entering the Army’s Green to Gold commissioning program.
“Being prior enlisted helps,” the medic said. “Being a little bit older, she’s more mature than others I’ve taught before…they can absorb the information a little bit more than those not used to it.”
Ward commented on his two future officers, “Both showed up eager and ready to learn. They weren’t shy about asking points of view from various cross sections of the company-- myself, the first sergeant, soldiers and other officers.
About the CTLT program, Daigle said, “I would recommend everyone do it. It gives you the job, the purpose, the motivation to excel in becoming a leader.”
Hall, in a report about her experiences, wrote she was excited about being assigned to the battalion because “…I knew that Civil Affairs was a gem within the big Army."
“I learned way more than I expected to and am fully confident any CTLT Cadet who comes through the CA Brigade here on Fort Bragg will be welcomed, treated with respect, and leave with a base of knowledge applicable to future officer and soldier operations and be a possible recruiter/recruitment for Civil Affairs.”
Tavarris Andrews, a cadet with the 91st CA Bn. (A), agreed. “During my time at CTLT, I was able to do some high speed training in the CA community that most ROTC cadets do not get a chance to do. "
The airborne-qualified student wrote about his most exciting experiences. “I was able to successfully exit a C-22 Sherpa and executed a safe parachute landing fall [at the Luzon drop zone]…and had the chance to experience Gryphon Group’s mobile force protection course, which included all types of skills, such as Level 1 and 2 combat driving techniques, live fire exercises, break contact drills, and roll-over vehicle simulations …. which helped me have a better understanding of how important communication and staying mobile is in the combat environment.”