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'Black Scorpions' prepare for mobilization training mission

December 18, 2012

By 2nd Lt. John Pyne, 2-363rd Training Support Battalion, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West

McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- For Soldiers of the 2-363rd Training Support Battalion 'Black Scorpions,' 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, from Mesa, Ariz., annual training here this year marked the culminating event of months of hard work preparing for a one-year mobilization.

During their mobilization at McGregor Range, the Black Scorpions will train joint warfighters for overseas deployments.

McGregor Range and several other remote training areas comprise one of the largest mobilization and deployment stations in the Army. Located just north of the Texas border in the New Mexico desert, McGregor hosts multiple task forces responsible for running training lanes such as combat lifesaver, combatives, mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle training, small arms ranges, language, leadership skills and more.

Training and preparation for the Black Scorpions mobilization began months ago as Soldiers were hand-picked based on experience and professionalism.

'When asked if I was 'stacking my deck', I responded, 'I'm absolutely stacking my deck!'' said Master Sgt. Richard Avila, MRAP training lane noncommissioned officer-in-charge. 'It is vitally important that we have the best people to do this job.'

The unit's recent annual training allowed for a 'left-seat ride,' a time when the incoming trainers worked side- by-side with the trainers they will replace next month.

The Medical Section Officer, 1st Lt. Donna Sojka, appreciated the chance to get a 'sneak preview' of the mobilization.

'The opportunity to observe current training structure prior to mobilizing is a valuable tool to provide consistency in training for joint warfighters and their deployment needs,' Sojka said.

Customer service is the battalion's number one priority, said Lt. Col. James Caryl, 363rd Training Support Battalion commander, and joint warfighters are the unit's customers.

'The better we do our job here,' Caryl said, 'the better prepared the warfighter is as he or she deploys to the fight.'

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