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    Team, Individual Tasks a Primary Focus During Operation Ready Warrior

    Safety Briefing

    Photo By Zachary Mott | Major Josh Monteiro, an observer/controller/trainer with the 78th Training Division,...... read more read more



    Story by Zachary Mott 

    88th Readiness Division

    FORT McCOY, Wis. – Soldiers from across the Army Reserve conducted collective training for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began at two installations through August and September during Operation Ready Warrior.

    Fort McCoy, Wis., hosted the first round of ORW training in August that brought nearly 1,000 Soldiers to train on individual, team and squad-level drills. This training included medical lanes, movement techniques, tactical communication, land navigation, individual weapons qualification and crew-served weapons ranges.

    “We’re returning to training,” said Lt. Col. Luke Falk, commander, 3rd Battalion, 309th Training Regiment, 78th Training Division, whose unit provided some of the instructors and evaluators for Operation Ready Warrior. “This is the first time these Soldiers have been able to come together in the last five to six months. Now they’re getting to do the things we’ve signed up to do.”

    Above all else, safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are stressed and enforced.

    “Coming out here, I was concerned,” said Maj. Josh Monteiro, an observer/controller/trainer with the 78th Training Division and currently living in Tampa, Fla. “How do we do this and do it safely? One of the basic things I saw was in a formation. Where we used to have a formation where we had all people next to each other, now we have Soldiers five to six feet apart and they’re marching that way, too.”

    Some of the other precautions in place include daily temperature checks, frequent hand washing, symptom monitoring and mandatory mask wearing when not conducting personal hygiene, eating or drinking and during periods of physical exertion, but while maintaining social distancing precautions.

    “Every morning I remind them they have a family back home, everywhere you go, make sure you keep distance and wash your hands,” said Sgt. Nelson Zapata, cargo specialist, 650th Transportation Company, out of Wilmington, N.C. “I give them a safety brief every morning. You go out there and your family is back home, you don’t want to go out there and bring something back with you. Protect yourself and protect your family.”

    Operation Ready Warrior offered a chance for Soldiers to practice critical skills and to try out new platforms such as the Army Combat Fitness Test and updated rifle qualification tables.

    “It’s so similar to combat. My background is as an infantry guy, it’s actually the same thing,” Zapata said of the new rifle qualification tables. “You’re patrolling, you see the enemy, you take cover and you return fire. You change positions, you seek cover. It’s really very good.”

    The new standard requires Soldiers to fire 40 rounds from five different positions and four separate magazines at distances from 50 to 300 meters in singular and multiple target engagements. The commands from the tower are also less as Soldiers are now tasked with counting targets and changing positions accordingly.

    “Everyone is a basic rifleman, just because we’re on ships and we’re loading and off-loading, you never know. They could give us an order that this platoon is going to be security now,” Zapata said. “By learning this shooting, it’s the same thing, you’re going to have to dismount and go forward. Yes, we’re an 88H, but this is basic. Every member should know this.”

    Another critical skill in the shoot, move, communicate Army training imperatives is land navigation. Being able to read a map and to maneuver around it are key skills for every Soldier and something that was taught and practiced over the course of two days during Operation Ready Warrior.

    “Land navigation is key,” Monteiro said. “We’ve gotten so reliant on technology. If you’re stuck in the middle of the field, how am I going to get back to where I need to be? Just to be able to have the basic skill to be confident that I can get from point A to point B if my equipment was to fail me or if I’m out in the woods by myself or if I was injured somewhere and I needed to be able to tell somebody where I’m at. It’s just a skill that you should carry with you forever.”

    With the multitude of changes Soldiers have experienced in these last six months – to include virtual and hybrid battle assemblies, health and safety precautions – these Soldiers are excited to be able to get back to training and building unit cohesion.

    “A lot of things have changed: keeping distance, wearing a mask. We adapt real quick,” Zapata said. “We’re training wearing masks and everything is going good. We’re protecting ourselves and our fellow Soldiers.”



    Date Taken: 09.22.2020
    Date Posted: 09.22.2020 12:02
    Story ID: 378371
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 
    Hometown: CHARLOTTE, NC, US
    Hometown: TAMPA, FL, US
    Hometown: WEST PALM BEACH, FL, US
    Hometown: WILMINGTON, NC, US

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