News: Stryker Master Trainer Course comes to JBLM
Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher McCullough
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – They rotated out in groups of four or five Soldiers each. The noncommissioned officers from the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, focused on the lesson at hand—mounting and dismounting a .50-caliber machine gun on a Stryker vehicle.
This block of instruction is part of six-week Stryker Master Trainer Course taught by 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry, out of Fort Benning, Ga., for 3-2 SBCT leaders.
According to the course’s website, the training is designed to teach selected noncommissioned officers to assist unit leaders in the planning and implementation of vehicle crew training and gunnery/live fire training programs at all levels.
"What we're teaching these NCOs is to be assets to their company commanders and battalion commanders," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Cassidy, a senior instructor with 1-29 IN, referring to the planning of training exercises for Stryker crews. "It's like a mass recourse, so they're masters of all trades on Strykers."
Because the course started from the basics, it felt like a refresher for many of the NCOs attending, but in the days and weeks to come it will increase in scope and intensity.
"What we teach for the first week is Stryker orientation and familiarization," Cassidy said. "We start teaching them … weapons - .50-cal (machine guns) and Mark-19 (grenade launchers); how to break them apart and put them together, and to mount them and dismount them on top of the Strykers. We also teach them how to forecast ammo and set up unit training plans.”
The course is designed for mid-level NCOs with no less than six months time in a Stryker brigade and who already have a working knowledge of the vehicle.
"What it does is it helps the Soldier understand the capabilities of the Stryker," Cassidy explained.
The course, which was brought to JBLM from Fort Benning to save the Army the cost of having to fly all the students there, seems to be achieving its goal.
"This course has actually shown me a lot so far, in the past day and a half," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Hockett, a weapons squad leader with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment. "It's shown me a lot that I hadn't realized (like) … the unit training plan. Learning how to develop it will help us, as squad leaders, to run our squads a little better. We can plan our training more than a few months out."
The goal of the program is to have certified Stryker Master Trainers at the company and battalion levels to ensure that the full impact of this training reaches all Soldiers.
For more information about the program, visit http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/197th/129/SMT/.