News: Soldiers, leaders come together to learn during Arrowhead Week
Story by Staff Sgt. Justin A. Naylor
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – With a focus on the Pacific and global deployment capabilities, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, “Arrowhead,” 7th Infantry Division, has a huge mission set. With such a wide range of responsibilities, it’s important to provide decision makers with the most up-to-date knowledge possible.
Soldiers of 3-2 SBCT took part in Arrowhead Week July 7-11 where briefings focused on topics ranging from Stryker safety trends to new communications platforms.
“Each quarter, we set aside a designated, focused period of time for leader development at all echelons,” said Col. Hugh Bair, the Arrowhead Brigade commander.
The week began with two days of training and intensive maintenance checks and services on Stryker vehicles, the Arrowhead Brigade’s primary fighting platform.
The unit’s Stryker crews learned about emerging safety trends and newly-implemented vehicle procedures. Many of the lessons learned by the brigade’s sister unit, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, during their recent summer training exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, were passed on to the Arrowhead Soldiers in preparation for future training and operations.
Leaders from the unit then visited the Port of Tacoma, a major shipping hub in the Puget Sound, where they toured vessels designed to haul military equipment should the need arise.
“We went on the boat and got a tour, and we got to talk to folks and get an appreciation of what being on a boat for 14 days steaming to the Philippines or Thailand would feel like,” said Bair.
This an important topic to the Arrowhead Brigade, who could be called to help with humanitarian relief and assistance missions anywhere in the world, said Capt. William Conser, a Tombstone, Arizona, native and engineer planning officer who helped put together Arrowhead Week.
In addition to this, Brig. Gen. Kurt Ryan, the commanding officer of 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, spoke to the Arrowhead leaders and relayed to them his experience supporting natural disaster relief in the Philippines and New Orleans.
This was an eye-opening experience to those within the brigade who have never been called upon to help with disaster relief efforts.
“It made us realize that there is going to be a lot more planning effort put into just the preparation to go and assist in disaster relief,” Conser said.
While much of the focus of Arrowhead Week was on leader development, it was also a chance for junior Soldiers to bring to light any issues that they have with the Stryker vehicles they routinely work and train on.
“It was a good opportunity for them to voice their opinions and see what was actually being done at the higher level,” Conser said. “It gave them a chance to be heard outside of their direct unit.”
Although there were many topics covered during the week, the unifying idea was that it was a chance to take a timeout from daily activities and work on developing Arrowhead Soldiers and leaders.
“It’s just a set, focused time to cover a myriad of topics pertaining to all echelons of leader development and to quickly introduce concepts, ideas, best practices and lessons learned from across the force,” Bair said.
“The beautiful thing about Arrowhead Week is we already know on the calendar where it is at,” Bair said.
This allows leaders to choose topics of discussion that are pertinent to current challenges that the unit is facing.
A particular example Bair highlighted was that the Army recently changed towing procedures for Stryker vehicles. Instead of trying to teach units piecemeal about the changes as their training calendar allowed, Arrowhead Week was an opportunity for the units to all learn about the new guidance at the same time.
“We used this opportunity to … disseminate and discuss the changes, so that we are all in compliance,” Bair said. “It’s that quick feedback, that rapid feedback that Arrowhead Week allows us.”
The week culminated in a brigade run showcasing the colors and the stamina of the unit’s Soldiers.
As 3-2 SBCT’s mission continues to evolve, future Arrowhead Weeks will allow Soldiers and leaders to learn about and discuss issues that are relevant to the unit and the mission at hand.