Saturday, November 1, 2008

Executing a Plan

Warrior training for the 211th MPAD began 10 October 2008 but the planning involved in the events that will drive this unit to success began months before the execution.

As part of the full-time support staff for the 211th MPAD I have coordinated and assisted the direction of the men and women that I will be fighting along side. I could not have done this all alone and thankfully I have a strong command body working with me. I was lucky to receive a seasoned officer in the field of Public Affairs to steer the cattle truck as well as a training NCO that has worked as many annoying and painstaking hours as myself whenever things started to fall apart.

(Besides MAJ Daneker and SFC Quebec no one knows how happy I am to be executing the 'plan' instead of planning a plan to plan the execution.)

My higher command has worked for and against us on multiple objectives and after careful deliberations, pointing our cases, and focusing on our goals as a unit and for the personnel assigned to the unit we came to acceptable agreements.

Atleast half of the personnel in the 211th MPAD are volunteers or augmentees from peer MPAD units from across the country. If the many months of preparation work as expected these individuals that are not organic will have some comfort and warm catered meals when available (so far it appears that everything is progressing as expected).

I for one was excited to be wearing the uniform full time again. Upon receipt of our personnel on the first day of Annual Training in preparation for the Readiness Training Center (RTC) at Fort Dix, New Jersey we started hot and heavy in basic Soldier skills learned form Basic Combat Training (BASIC). Ironically, like the privates in BASIC, we had drill instructors come and refresh our training at home-station before movement to New Jersey.

Fort Dix is not what I had expected. I was preparing for the worst. Rumors I had heard gave New jersey a reputation of being a terrible place to live and visit. This might be so still, but I am stuck on post and well, it's just like any other military Army post I have spent time on.

The training here has been far from what I have become accustomed to. The instructors here have real combat experience from Iraq and Afghanistan and it appears that they genuinely care for all the personnel going through their stations and heading out the door to jump over the pond. The training has been both realistic, appropriate, as well as hands-on (though there was plenty of power point days staring at the walls drooling).

I have been in units where the training has been far from realistic, appropriate, pointed. In fact, most training I attend is read from slides from some staff section where someone brainstorms ideas and fire them down the chain to the lowest level (me) and get ordered to read the slides and 'check the block.'

Something that worried be greatly was that half my unit were augmented from various other units from around the country. I was concerned that there would be character quirks, there would be social clicks, and there would be rash and opposing personalities. How wrong I was.

The unit has bonded well, we're more of a large family than we are a business organization and we have only been working for twenty days or so. I may be overly optimistic but I personally feel that our personalities and our sense of humor will continue to drive us on throughout the training and the pending deployment.

Of course we have slip ups and on occassion people snap angry words. This is expected in a high op-tempo, close-quartered environment. Overall, everything I have seen, done, and experienced has offered me a motivating and optimistic approach to what is to be.

The 211th MPAD will no doubt perform great feats in theater.

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