FORT KNOX, Ky. - More than 130 warrior citizens participated in a joint Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Field Training Exercise as part of a military occupational specialty reclassification course at the Total Army School System Training Center, Fort Knox, Feb. 4-11, 2013.
The pilot course, modeled after the one at Fort Bragg, N.C., includes in-class instruction and an FTX with real-life civil affairs and PSYOPS mission scenarios. For example, students visited simulated Afghan villages and interacted with local villagers asking about issues ranging from security to medical assistance.
Sgt. 1st Class Brian Morris, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist assigned to the 404th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), Fort Dix, N.J., said the training will help when he returns to his unit and during his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
"I enjoyed the small-scaled, joint team dynamic because everyone seemed to have input and helped with the mission," Morris said. "Although this is just the initial stuff, it makes you think on your feet and learn to make quick judgment calls."
The training also provides soldiers the opportunity to learn about possible situations that may occur during deployment missions, like the ability to negotiate, mediate and problem solve.
"A lot of times, we have relationships with key leadership," said Sgt. 1st Class Ed Cardona, a dismounted vehicle instructor at the FTX currently assigned to 12th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 100th Training Division. "If civil affairs and PSYOPS work together we can get the key leadership working together."
The course, which is currently temporary, could become part of the TTC-Fort Knox curriculum if students, instructors and leadership provide positive feedback.
"We are here to teach these soldiers to be civil affairs and PSYOPs SMEs, and this FTX is really causing the soldiers to switch gears," said Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Supinski, senior enlisted leader 12th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 100th Training Division.