Gathering Pieces

By Wells, Sharilyn | Warrior - Citizen, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview
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Gathering Pieces

Wells, Sharilyn, Warrior - Citizen

Soldiers from the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), Riverdale, Md., participated in a tiiree-day battle assembly that focused on civil-military operations, March 18-20,2011, here. The Soldiers were immersed in real-life scenarios that allowed them to engage with foreign local populace, foreign law enforcement and foreign officials. They were sent on missions to conduct local assessments of land that could be used for displaced civilians, as well as checking out a local lumber yard for any information they could gather on the importance of the mill.

Company A had the difficult task of informing die two role-players, who were civilians on the property, that their land would now be used as a temporary home for displaced civilians. The two men, who had a large family, didn't want to give up their land. But die culturally oriented and linguistically capable Soldiers were able to build rapport with the role-players, leading to an agreement that would benefit both the military and the civilians.

'This type of training is extremely important," explained Capt. Charles Timney, Co. A., 450th. "Assessing is a big part of CA, so anytime we get the chance to focus on this is good. It's all about teaching the new Soldiers about their job. This is really their first taste of CA after completing AIT (advanced individual training) and they've had a blast. This training has also been very humbling for the Soldiers who have been around for a while."

For Spc. Joshua Benedict, Co. A, 450th, this training was exactiy what he needed to see.

"It allows us to know what to expect and to know how to react to certain situations, since I haven't been deployed before," Benedict said.

Spc. Andrew Boyd, who had just come to the unit the previous month, agreed that the training gave a real insight to what CA is capable of. Boyd, Co. C, 450th, was given a different scenario to better train Soldiers on assessments.

"We were told to do an assessment of a lumber yard in our exercise's area of operation. Things like, who the owner is, how the mill is run, any problems they've encountered, and their community relations . . . any type of information that can be used to better inform our higher headquarters," explained Boyd. "We also want to let the people know that we are there and to see how we can help them, while they help us."

"The world of CA is new to me; this training was real eye-opening for me and let me know what to look forward to in the future," continued Boyd. "It's invaluable; especially to have people who have been in those situations before and learn from their real-life situations and how they handled those situations."

The after-action reviews were the biggest learning concept for Pfc. Champaine Tisdale, Co. D, 450th.

"After we were done with our four scenarios, we got together for our after-action review and were quickly informed that we were entering a fifth scenario," explained Tisdale.

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Gathering Pieces


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