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    811th Engineer Company focuses on new task during annual training



    Story by Pvt. Jeremiah Smith 

    196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    CAMP GRAYLING, Mich. – It’s a cloudy Saturday afternoon in June, and rain is sprinkling down. Soldiers of the 811th Engineer Company run security as if they have been doing it their entire lives.
    The 811th’s task is to provide area defense of a combat outpost at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center (CGJMTC). The task is a requirement for annual training.
    This is not a typical annual training for the unit. The Ohio Army National Guard has tasked a team of evaluators called Observer Controller Trainers (OC/Ts) to evaluate units on their readiness and tactical abilities during the course of two weeks.
    “This training allows units to be more ready for deployment, and to perfect their jobs,” said Pfc. Tyler Fields, an infantry Soldier who is on loan to the 811th as a cross-level.
    The unit has performed buddy team live-fire and squad live-fire for platoon sized elements so far during this annual training. This has allowed the unit to successfully complete various scenarios that have been thrown their way.
    “We have done a lot of live-fire training, and it’s not just, ‘Hey! Sit here on the line and shoot at stationary targets,’” said Sgt. Adam Oliver, a combat engineer for the 811th. "We get to actually go out and move around, as we shoot at targets that are popping up.”
    As the pace and tempo of training increases, the focus changes, and they’ve not seen that at past annual trainings.
    “We are shifting gears from how wars have been fought by combat engineers for the past two decades by fighting counter insurgencies and doing route clearance and getting back to what our primary function was in World War I and World War II, doing counter-mobility,” Oliver said.
    The unit is living in the field—learning how it feels to run missions continuously. This is a paramount skill, especially if they are in a real-life situation. It helps them develop muscle memory to be able to react and do their jobs under stress in highly intense situations.
    “If we don’t do the tough annual training, then we aren’t going to get much out of it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Justin Lane, a platoon sergeant in the 811th.
    Difficult training gives the unit a more realistic field operation and gives them a better idea of what could happen during future deployments. This allows them to increase proficiency in their engineer tasks and skills and provides engineer support in the designated area of operations.
    While these tasks are being completed, the unit builds cohesion. This has allowed the Soldiers to work together to complete the mission while living side-by-side in the woods of Camp Grayling.
    “It’s done a lot as far as building cohesion. When you get down in the dirt like this with guys, you get to know one another,” Oliver said.
    As annual training continues for many units across CGJMTC, the focus is to improve both individually and as a unit.
    “I’m hoping we can take a step back and see the things that went well and put a lot of focus on the things we know that did not go so well. This will allow us to work and improve those things down the road and adjust our training schedule each year to address our deficiencies rather than doing the same things over-and-over again,” Oliver said.



    Date Taken: 06.28.2018
    Date Posted: 06.29.2018 12:52
    Story ID: 282784
    Location: GRAYLING, MI, US 

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