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    First Army strives to remain masters of doctrine

    First Army strives to remain masters of doctrine

    Photo By Warren Marlow | As First Army observer coach/trainers, Capt. Monique Foster (left) and Sgt. 1st Class...... read more read more



    Story by Warren Marlow 

    First Army

    CAMP GRAYLING, Mich. – During the eXportable Combat Training Capability , or XCTC, exercise 20-05, Soldiers of the Michigan Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment are certifying platoon proficiency in preparation for an eventual deployment.

    Next to those Soldiers, First Army Observer Coach/Trainers with First Army Division West’s 189th Combined Arms Training Brigade are providing advice and counsel on best practices based on their extensive military experience. But the ever-evolving nature of combat means that the real-world experience of the OC/T’s sometimes requires some supplemental training.

    To keep up with current practices and serve as an effective advisor to the total force, Soldiers like Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Bell refresh their experience by reading the latest military publications.

    “If you don’t keep up on the latest doctrine, you’re going to fall behind,” Bell said. “You’ve got to read it. For 22 years now, I’ve had to keep reading because it changes all the time.”

    That constant embrace of new knowledge is how Bell and other OC/Ts remain masters of doctrine. They bring knowledge, expertise, best practices, and lessons learned to the fight. They do this while supporting tough, realistic training with partnered units, and this helps ensure that those units succeed at the individual and collective levels.

    Supporting this training can mean 19-hour days, but Bell said it was all worth it when he sees the results.

    “You are able to see the unit develop from day one to the end of the exercise. Being out here 21 days gives them time to develop the skills that maybe they can’t while training two days a month,” Bell said. “This gives them time to look at it, see it, and develop better plans and a way ahead.”

    And while the challenges are many and varied, OC/Ts said mastering doctrine is key to being an effective advisor.

    “You have to be book smart,” said Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Vik. “Be open-minded and brush up on your doctrine.”

    Vik has served for 18 years and, like Bell, is an observer coach/trainer with the 189th CATB.

    Helping Reserve Component units incorporate doctrine and evolve during their time in the field is what he loves most about the job.

    “I enjoy being able to observe different units and how they attack different issues,” he said. “And one of the most rewarding parts is providing input to those young leaders and watching them develop through the course of the training event.”

    As an OC/T, Vik help the Soldiers help themselves by guiding them to come up with possible solutions, but the decisions rest with them, with the results analyzed afterward.

    “Once they go through the lane, you assess and do your after action review,” he said. “They’ve been very receptive of the feedback that’s been provided to them. Working with them has been a pleasure.”
    While military doctrine is complex and ever-changing, the ways of mastering it remain simple.

    “The keys are reading, studying, and making yourself an expert,” said Capt. Monique Foster, another OC/T with the 189th CATB. “Any field that I go into, I strive to be an expert. With this job, it’s a matter of having doctrine and publications saved on your tablet and phone and being able to reference them when needed.”

    And if the 1-125th Inf. Regt. wins, so does First Army.

    “If the unit is better than when they got here, I think we’re successful,” Bell said.



    Date Taken: 08.10.2020
    Date Posted: 08.13.2020 15:12
    Story ID: 375670
    Location: US

    Web Views: 151
    Downloads: 1