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    Joint Readiness Training Center Prepares Civil Affairs Soldiers for Real World Missions

    Never Leave A Fallen Comrade

    Photo By Sgt. Chiquita Peña | Fort Polk's medical evacuation team lifts a soldier suffering from heat exhaustion...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Chiquita Peña 

    352nd Civil Affairs Command PAO

    Army Soldiers preparing for conflict in every era since World War II have come to know the 198,000 acre sweltering green humid land mass that is Fort Polk, Louisiana. Filled with dense, jungle-like vegetation, the area's humidity, heat, and precipitation mimic the stressors soldiers once experienced in places like Vietnam. Trainees from that period know this landscape as Tigerland, but today it is better known as Atropia, a fictional country orchestrated by the Joint Readiness Training Center. Lloyd H. Elletson, a retired United States Army First Sergeant and Vietnam veteran, plays the role of Provincial Governor of Kirshan Province in the mock city of Dara Lam and has known it by both names. Affectionately called "Mr. Lucky", he served in the United States Army for twenty-six years and this is his tenth year as a civilian role player. Mr. Lucky recalls his earlier days focusing on combat training and self- preservation in jungle warfare. Training on how to interact with the Vietnamese local population wasn't something he had to worry about. Today is different. "The mission is to prepare our U.S. forces for deploying to other countries and what they will run into when we get there. It assists them in dealing with civilian populations and foreign government and gives soldiers great capabilities and knowledge, so when they get there they have some idea what to expect. "
    Private First Class Jacob Hansen, civil affairs soldier with the 437th Civil Affairs Company at Fort Story, Virginia looks forward to what he'll learn on this mission. "I think it's a good experience for me because I'm fresh out of AIT. I feel like Advanced Individual Training wasn't long enough for me to actually learn my Military Occupational Specialty. I think it's very beneficial because I haven't had a chance to sit in on a Key Leader Engagement. In AIT it was a five day Field Training Exercise. The scenario wasn't very long. "
    Leaders among the civil affairs ranks echo the sentiments of Mr. Lucky and Private Hansen. First Sergeant Robert Denny, a Civil Affairs non-commissioned officer with the 422nd Civil Affairs Delta Company is tasked as an observer, coach, and trainer. He's interested in the proper training of Soldiers new to civil affairs. "We have a lot of young soldiers just coming out of AIT and a lot of new NCO's just coming through the ranks. With the 38 series [civil affairs] we're trying to get a cohesive team together. It's kind of difficult sometimes. There's just 26 days just for this scenario. The training is actually spread for like six or eight months." Denny says in addition to core tasks of the Civil Affairs branch they're evaluating the common soldiering skills.
    "We're so used to going out doing the Key Leader Events, reporting, and working with non-government officials and government officials. We forget about the basics; shooting, communicating...using radios. I see a lot of missteps." Denny notes the contrast from standard monthly training and the heat and humidity at Fort Polk. "It's not like drill weekend."
    Several soldiers learned exactly how intensive JRTC training is from drill weekend. The scenarios are orchestrated but the conditions are real. The mission stood down at least four times in one day to evacuate heat casualties. The Joint Readiness Training Center is focused on improving unit readiness by providing highly realistic, stressful, joint and combined arms training across the full spectrum of conflict. The JRTC training scenario is based on each participating organization's mission essential tasks list. The exercise scenarios replicate many of the unique situations and challenges a unit may face to include host national officials and citizens, insurgents and terrorists, news media coverage and non-governmental organizations. These tasks are critical for any Civil Affairs unit.
    "We need to keep this training going and find ways to improve it even more so. That's going to be an ongoing thing," says Mr. Lucky. From Vietnam, to Afghanistan and future leaders share common beliefs and interest in readying today's force for anything; whether in temperate climates like Fort Polk, mountainous terrain in Afghanistan, or urban settings. Lessons learned in training and real-world settings will inevitably shape how we prepare today's force for future challenges. The landscape of conflict is ever-evolving, and the United States Army Reserves will constantly evolve with it, no matter the conditions.



    Date Taken: 03.03.2018
    Date Posted: 03.04.2018 13:47
    Story ID: 268035
    Location: LA, US

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