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‘Durable’ Soldier bonds with team during field training exercise

By Spc. Walter Carroll | 1ST INF. DIV. SUST. BDE. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | October 20, 2017

      For their most recent training exercise, Soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade had the opportunity to learn about the job — and about themselves.

    During Operation Reliable Focus, Sept. 27 through Oct. 3 on Fort Riley, service members of the brigade re-certified their skills in land navigation, drivers training and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear training.

      Staff Sgt. Christopher R. Foster, a Fredericksburg, Virginia, native and human resources sergeant with the 1st Inf. Div. Sust. Bde., compared his field experiences as a specialist to now being a NCO during a FTX.

      “It’s different perspectives; my last FTX, I was a (junior enlisted) Soldier,” Foster said. “A lot of times, being given the information as a Soldier and not understanding where it comes from is different than being in a leadership position, understanding the intent and selling it to your guys, getting them to understand the mission.”

      Part of the exercise included conducting a 40 hour drivers training course. This course was designed to certify unlicensed service members and re-certify current license holders. With more than 18 years of experience in the Army, including drivers training, Foster has developed more of a personal reason to attend the training, even though he’s already qualified for it.

     “My Soldiers are there, I like to be there,” Foster said. “I’m new to the section and I feel the best way for us to come together is to be in training with them.

      “The class is entertaining, informative and relevant to what we’re doing.”

      Spc. Zilporah Lewis, human resources specialist, 1st Inf. Div. Sust. Bde., works with Foster.

      “No matter what we did in the field, he didn’t complain, he just went along with it,” Lewis said. “He puts the Soldiers’ needs above his own.”

      Foster put on his NCO hat after the day of instruction to ensure his Soldiers had a thorough understanding of the day’s lesson.

      “After the instructor gives the class, I can do a check-on-learning and that’s where we build a cohesive bond,” Foster said.

      Foster stresses the importance of taking care of the equipment they might use in a future deployment and hopes the Soldiers choose to take away a lot of information.

     “Hopefully they choose to take away a lot of this information because when we do deploy and when we do take these vehicles with us a lot of what we’re learning in drivers training has the potential to benefit the mission and potentially save lives,” Foster said.

     “It was a good experience,” Lewis said. “Being in the field caused us to bond more as a shop.”

     The students participated in drivers training for the entire duration of the FTX. This includes classroom sessions, day and night time hours behind the wheel of Humvees and learning how to tow trailers.

     “The world is ever-changing, and this is something I try to drive home to my guys,” Foster said.

      Foster believes that some training skills are perishable and refining them is of the absolute importance.

     “Hey man, you’re never going to know when you’re really going to need this stuff,” Foster said.