News: Preparing the best to test the rest
Story by Spc. Ryan Hills
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind.— Eighty-eight soldiers and civilians participated in the Observer Controllers/Trainers (OC/T) Academy here July 19 for this year’s Vibrant Response exercise.
The OC/Ts are considered subject matter experts in their particular career field and the academy prepares them to help train the multitude of military and civilian organizations participating in this exercise.
Vibrant Response is a major annual field training exercise being conducted July 21 through Aug. 7 by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North. As a component of U.S. Northern Command, ARNORTH coordinates timely federal military response to disasters in the homeland to help the American people in a time of need.
“The OC/Ts primary goal is to help their assigned unit get better every day,” said Karen Lloyd, battle captain for the Training Analysis and Feedback office.
The training included a wide variety of topics including safety, Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, observations and collection plan process, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defense, and scenario and simulation overview.
All of the OC/Ts come from a CBRN, aviation, medical or logistical background and will be matched up with organizations that fall into that specialty.
“With people from all over the country coming together to train, organization can be a little difficult,” said Ruben Perales, chief for U.S. Army North Lessons Learned. “The academy really helps get everybody on the same sheet of music.”
The OC/T mission is to follow their assigned unit through the training scenarios in order to observe how they perform and provide feedback to help them improve.
“Mission command, sustainment, protection, communication and movement and maneuver are the five major areas we ask the OC/Ts to look at,” said Perales.
OC/Ts also work with their assigned unit’s command to focus the unit’s training on areas in which the unit would like to improve, allowing them to get the most out of the exercise, says Lloyd.
Approximately 5,000 service members and civilians from the military and other federal and state agencies throughout the country are training to respond to a catastrophic domestic incident.
At the end of VR14 Perales will use all of the information gathered to create a summary review that is sent to Lt. Gen. Perry Wiggins, commander, U.S. Army North, and senior commander Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, the Department of Defense and all participating organizations in order to assess their unit readiness and prepare for next year’s exercise.