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    Training During COVID - Challenge Accepted

    Training During COVID "Challenge Accepted"

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Korff | U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Mykal Todd, Culinary Specialist and Spc. Jeremiah West,...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    38th Regional Support Group

    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Tracy L. Korff
    Public Affairs NCO, 38th Regional Support Group

    Millwood, W. Va. - Less than one month into the command of 38th Regional Support Group (RSG), Col. Scott Romero immediately set the expectations and importance of being "battle ready" Soldiers despite the current conditions. With this guidance in hand, U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 38th RSG participated in a local annual training exercise, Operation Dark Tunnel, Aug. 4-17, Millwood, West Virginia.

    The command team did not take the coronavirus pandemic lightly, instead, with the safety of Soldiers a priority, they accepted the challenge. Like many reserve units, the HHC, 38th RSG original annual training event scheduled for March at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), New Jersey was cancelled due to the new coronavirus.

    Leadership screened Soldiers prior to arrival to home station. Upon arrival their temperatures were taken before entering the facility. Soldiers went through additional screening and provided with extra face masks before departing home station by military convoy en route to the training location. The ability to exercise equipment was key training for Soldiers. It had been several months since they were afforded an opportunity to prepare and drive military vehicles.

    "The COVID concern is a situation we can mitigate with a solid safety plan," said Romero, "we needed Soldiers to understand we are not putting them in harm's way and provide confidence that we can train despite the threat of COVID."

    Before arriving at the training site, an assessment was conducted to ensure the risk mitigation strategy in place would prevent the spread of the virus. All Soldiers were briefed on the requirement for daily temperature checks and directed to adhere to social distancing, frequent hand washing, and regular sanitizing techniques.

    The Jackson County Armed Forces Reserve Center is a hard-structured building with a full kitchen and adequate outside ground space for training. The Soldiers trained on several simulated austere collective training tasks including utilization of the Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT) for meals.

    "We always use the kitchen," said Sgt. Mykal Todd, Culinary Specialist, "There are a lot skills you forget on the MKT and this was like a refresher course."

    Key staff leaders participated in a planning exercise to prepare the unit for next year's extended combat training at JBMDL supporting the Mobilization Force Generation Installation (MFGI) expansion as a Ready Force (RFX) unit. MFGI supports the increased demand of Combatant Commander Operations Plan requirements. MFGIs provide pre and post mobilization training support and deployment preparation as a primary, secondary or contingency site. If called upon, rapid expansion requires use of Reserve Component (RC) forces to support mobilization operations.

    Other training opportunities included Army Warrior Tasks. The tasks include land navigation, communications, first aid, and drivers training as part of building "battle ready" Soldiers. They also set-up a fully functional Tactical Operations Center (TOC) comprised of several tent systems encompassing more than 1700 square feet of mission command space.

    "I am excited that we were able to set up the TOC," said Romero, "A TOC operationalizes the staff and gets them from thinking in a static environment."

    The culminating event afforded the Soldiers an opportunity to conduct navigation skills using a Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR) that incorporated casualty care and radio communications.

    "I know how to do land navigation with paper and pencil, but it was nice to learn how to use the digital GPS equipment as well," said Spc. Mitchell Bolin, Supply Specialist.

    Overall, the mission was a huge success that increased the camaraderie of the unit that had not physically trained together in several months and provided training opportunities that could not be accomplished with a two week virtual event.

    "At the end of the day Soldiers are Soldiers and they know what they are supposed to do," said Romero.



    Date Taken: 08.16.2020
    Date Posted: 08.24.2020 19:27
    Story ID: 376709
    Location: MILLWOOD, WV, US 

    Web Views: 130
    Downloads: 0