News: 316th ESC soldiers endure WLC at Camp Buehring, Kuwait
Story by Staff Sgt. Peter Berardi
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — Sgt. Timothy Jarosz, Spc. Patrick Claybaugh and Spc. Bilal Rasul, all members of the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), along with nearly 130 others from around the Central Command area of responsibility attended Warrior Leader Course, class 12-709, at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 12-27.
WLC, the first leadership course soldiers attend, is a 15-day hard hitting and intensive course with an emphasis on leadership skills that gives soldiers the tools needed to be great noncommissioned officers. Throughout the course, soldiers learn and get evaluated on many tasks including drill and ceremony, conducting physical readiness training, writing operation orders, filling out awards and memos and leadership. The culmination of the training is the situational training exercise. During the STX soldiers experience being a leader and being led during missions that include urban operations, improvised explosive device reaction and medical evacuation using UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
Rasul, a resident of Ravenna, Ohio, and a cook with the 316th, was recognized as the distinguished honor graduate of the class by earning over a 90 percent on every testable assignment and having the overall highest average of all soldiers in the class.
When asked before the class started, Rasul, who had not planned on achieving such an honor, said he was looking forward to attending WLC in country. “I think it’ll be an interesting experience, a change of pace from my daily routine and good training towards my professional career in the army,” he said. “Getting some tactical training and leading a squad will be fun. I haven’t had the opportunity to lead, so that will be something new for me to experience and I’m looking forward to getting that kind of training.”
Claybaugh, a member of the 316th support operations section and resident of Belle Vernon, Pa., expected other types of training. “I was expecting to learn a lot of the paperwork side of being a leader and how to lead formations,” he said.
There were few things that concerned Rasul about the course. “I’m going with another sergeant [Sgt. Timothy Jarosz] so I’m just going to ask him as many questions as I can before we go and if I need any help look to him for guidance,” he said.
During the course, soldiers learn and experience many new things. “I got put in some leadership roles that I’ve never dealt with before, so that took me out of my element,” Rasul said, “But I accomplished my mission and had a great time doing it.” He also learned the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer, which is an ethos that entails what it means to be a great NCO and garrison leadership while getting a refresher on tactical training.
Claybaugh also learned some new skills while reinforcing others. “I learned the different ways to do an OPORD and also how to do DNC properly, to a T,” he said.
The training tested soldiers’ physical and mental capabilities. “The hardest part was the tactical training,” Rasul said. “I haven’t done that since basic training, so it was almost brand new to me, but everybody was in synch and we made it run smooth.”
Jarosz, a resident of Pittsburgh and member of the 316th headquarters section, thought the new Army PRT was the toughest. “I grew up with the old Army physical training and being out in front of the formation is a little tougher for the PRT,” said Jarosz.
The most important lessons learned vary from one soldier to the next. Having already been an NCO Jarosz said, “Soldiers need to know what NCO’s have to go through every day, leading soldiers, keeping calm, keeping your cool.”
Learning how to do OPORDs was the most important thing for Claybaugh. “I plan on going infantry eventually and I believe OPORDs were the best thing for me to learn if I decide to go that route,” he said.
After the graduation ceremony, Rasul said he was glad to represent the 316th at the course and to return to the unit with increased confidence. “I was placed in a lot of positions that I never had been in before,” added Rasul. “You don’t know how you’re going to perform until you’re placed in those positions and now that I have that experience I’m confident in my abilities.”