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Soldiers with the 382nd Engineer Company (SAPPER), 356th Engineer Battalion (Heavy), 411th Engineer Brigade assembles for pre-mission briefings during the Warrior Exercise at Joint Base McGuire Lakehurst Dix, N.J., Jan 27, 2014.
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174th Infantry Brigade Partners with 78th Training Division in Warrior Exercise


1st Lt. Gerrelaine Alcordo/174th Infantry Brigade PAO


JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.— During the recent Operation Arctic Lightening exercise here, more than 2,700 Army Reserve Soldiers honed their individual and unit skill sets tackling transportation, military police and engineer operations, with the support of First Army Division East’s observer-coach/trainers.

Soldiers with the 382nd Engineer Company (SAPPER), 356th Engineer Battalion (Heavy), 411th Engineer Brigade assembles for pre-mission briefings during the Warrior Exercise at Joint Base McGuire Lakehurst Dix, N.J., Jan 27, 2014.
Soldiers with the 382nd Engineer Company (SAPPER), 356th Engineer Battalion (Heavy), 411th Engineer Brigade assembles for pre-mission briefings during the Warrior Exercise at Joint Base McGuire Lakehurst Dix, N.J., Jan 27, 2014. (Images by 1st Lt. Gerrelaine Alcordo)
Soldiers with the 382nd Engineer Company (SAPPER), 356th Engineer Battalion (Heavy), 411th Engineer Brigade assembles for pre-mission briefings during the Warrior Exercise at Joint Base McGuire Lakehurst Dix, N.J., Jan 27, 2014.
Soldiers with the 382nd Engineer Company (SAPPER), 356th Engineer Battalion (Heavy), 411th Engineer Brigade assembles for pre-mission briefings during the Warrior Exercise at Joint Base McGuire Lakehurst Dix, N.J., Jan 27, 2014.

“My intent for training was well received by the 78th Training Division and further supported by the First Army OC/Ts on ground who assessed our training,” said 1st Lt. Jamie R. Horton, 82nd Engineer Company commander (SAPPER), 356th Engineer Battalion (Heavy), 411th Engineer Brigade. “The feedback we received was invaluable and will be taken back to home station unforgotten. We are certainly more prepared to take on any real world mission we receive and will continue to use the experiences gained at WAREX to improve our readiness for such missions.”

In the past, observer-coach/trainers assigned to First Army Division East’s 174th and 157th Infantry Brigade normally train military personnel for the challenges and mission-specific skill sets for their deployments in support of contingency operations around the world. With the drawdown of forces to Afghanistan, First Army’s OC/Ts are focusing on ensuring Reserve Component Soldiers are trained and ready to support the Army’s Force Generation readiness requirements. For three weeks more than 55 OC/Ts mentored the Army Reserve soldiers participating in Operation Arctic Lightening.

“Our mission here is to advise units on how to conduct missions to meet and/or exceed Army standards according to doctrine,” said Capt. Andrew C. Morris, 1-314th Infantry Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade OC/T. “The first few days of training, we work with the commanders to understand the training needs of their unit. After intensive training, we observe the units capabilities then we provide feedback as needed.”

A trained Army engineer, Morris worked with various engineer units in the 78th Training Division testing their capabilities during the war-fighter exercise. Along with OC/Ts from both the 174th and 157th Infantry Brigades, he mentored the units throughout the whole exercise, providing vital input when necessary. “An event like the WAREX builds unit team cohesion things that they just can’t do in one weekend,” stressed Sgt 1st Class William A. Brown, 157th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East.

“The training conducted at WAREX also provides the Platoons an opportunity to constantly practice battle drills over the course of several days as opposed to a few days here and a few days there,” Horton said.”WAREX 78-14-01 gave our unit a strong understanding of the need to remain flexible, responsive, and disciplined against today's unconventional enemy.”

The OC-Ts not only provided training on specific areas of expertise, they also ensured safety measures were met.

"Our biggest priority during these training events is the safety of the soldiers," Morris emphasized. "We want them to have the most realistic training out here with the correct safety measure implemented."