OBSERVATION: Units retained or borrowed equipment so they could train until personnel deployed.
DISCUSSION: As much as 30 days is available for training between the deployment of equipment and the deployment of personnel. Units retained air-deployable equipment (man-pack radios, machineguns, etc). Units borrowed fighting vehicles and other large pieces of equipment from nondeploying units. This allowed units to train until actual departure.
LESSON(S): Plan for and obtain adequate resources for training after shipping unit equipment. Use simulation devices at home station.
OBSERVATIONS: Mobile training teams assisted unit pre-deployment training.
DISCUSSION: Proponent agencies and schools provided mobile training teams to assist units in preparation for deployment operations. Chemical and medical training teams which concentrated on NBC equipment, decontamination and chemical-related injuries were well received by units. These teams have a substantial amount of expertise in their respective areas. Although the teams are proactive, they must be requested and coordinated in advance.
LESSON(S): Identify training shortfalls and request proponent agency's mobile training teams to better prepare for deployment and combat operations.
OBSERVATION: Assignment of a large number of new personnel Compounded the difficulty in preparing for deployment and training the unit.
DISCUSSION: A large number of personnel were assigned as fiIlers to units immediately prior to deployment. Their level of expertise varied. Many new personnel were not MOS qualified. One unit received 29 new personnel and experienced a 60-percent turnover in officers including the company commander.
LESSON(S): Leaders must anticipate and identify the various levels of expertise and modify training plans to reflect mission training levels.
OBSERVATION: Many units received new equipment just prior to deployment.
DISCUSSION: New equipment greatly enhanced unit capabilities, but caused problems in training. Units receiving new equipment had little or no time to train on it. In some cases, there wasn't even time to uncrate it to check for serviceability prior to shipment. Leaders must understand the impact new equipment has on training and safety.
LESSON(S): Commanders need to plan for new equipment training teams who should arrive with the new equipment.
OBSERVATION: Soldiers in units with good physical training programs acclimatize faster.
DISCUSSION: Endurance is key to minimizing heat injuries. Exercising in the hottest part of the day is fine, but may be overdone if the leader is not careful. Water is vital before and after rigorous PT. Many units conducted PT in MOPP IV. Road marches are an excellent way of building endurance and stamina. Some portions of the United States are as hot as Southwest Asia; therefore, many troops were somewhat accustomed to high temperature and humidity.
LESSON(S): A rigorous PT program builds confidence and enhances acclimatization. Plan and conduct PT at the port of entry.
OBSERVATION: Safety is a Command responsibility.
DISCUSSION: Numerous violations of safety standards were observed, e.g., ammunition and hazardous material incompatibilities, improper load configurations and tie-downs, and inadequately trained vehicle and equipment operators. Soldiers taking shortcuts and not following standards resulted in personal injury and equipment loss.
LESSON(S): Hazards need to be identified beginning with the planning process. Risks must be evaluated against mission requirements. A go/no-go decision must be made. Training to standard leads to performing to standard which leads to safe operations. Good supervision lessens accident probability.
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