FORT POLK, La. — Another rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center came to an end March 26. The next day, units performed an after-action review of their time at the training center and began departure back to their home stations.
For Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Washington, observer/coach/trainer at JRTC, there was a feeling of pride in what he’s helped these soon-to-be-deploying units accomplish.
“I get a sense of satisfaction in hearing the rotational training units say we made a difference,” said Washington. “The amount of detail we provide is as good as they are going to find anywhere. It’s great to know the work you put in might save a life or two down the road.”
Working in sync with other OCTs at JRTC, Washington works to serve his fellow Soldiers by providing exceptionally realistic and relevant training designed to prepare them for future deployments to Afghanistan.
With experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, deploying twice to each country, Washington volunteered to come to JRTC as a way of giving back. Using his knowledge gained overseas, he’s worked to improve upon the training and ensure that Soldiers are getting the latest and greatest training available.
“Since I’ve deployed multiple times, I can serve as a utility to these Soldiers coming through JRTC,” said Washington. “I’m not here talking about what I’ve read or heard, it’s real world scenarios that really happened. That’s the kind of training Soldiers will respond to.”
This includes training Security Force Assistance Teams, which are comprised of leaders with various military specialties and civilian contractors with skill-specific knowledge. They work in a synchronized effort to prepare Afghan National Security Forces for the future withdrawal of coalition forces.
To prepare the SFATs for this mission, the units went through a week of grueling classroom training. Classes included lessons on cultural awareness, language skills, mission case studies and understanding their role as advisors.
Following the classroom training, the SFATs also work side-by-side with Afghan National Security Forces roleplayers in mock villages throughout JRTC to complete several scenario-based missions.
Washington believes that the SFAT training provided here will be beneficial and can help improve on the relationships between coalition forces and ANSF.
“I think the whole SFAT concept is an awesome idea,” he said. “The training they are getting here is giving them the tools and ability to expand upon all the work that prior units have already put in.”
Not all of the OCTs have experience in Afghanistan. Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Moore, JRTC OCT, is using her experience with Military Transition Teams in Iraq as a training tool.
While out on patrol with a military police detachment in Iraq, Moore got the opportunity to see and speak to a lot of Soldiers.
Working in the supply section, it was up to her to provide logistical needs to Soldiers in remote combat outposts and joint combat outposts.
While there, Moore learned first-hand of the hardships facing the people of Iraq and the Iraqi Army. However, it was there that she also witnessed the MTT in action and saw the benefit of a mentoring relationship between the IA and coalition forces.
“Having the Army working together with IA provided a whole different level of structure that was never there before,” said Moore. “Rather then re-inventing the wheel, and trying to create something from nothing, our Soldiers were able to mentor them on our tactics and ideas to strengthen what they already had in place.”
Moore believes her work in Iraq can be of a great benefit to SFATs training at JRTC.
“By bringing my personal and professional experiences to the training, I’m giving the SFAT Soldiers a real-life look at how successful they can be,” said Moore. “That’s what separates JRTC as the premier training center that the Army provides. It’s giving people the most recent knowledge and information for them to be successful.”