Fort Riley, Kansas



‘Durable’ Soldiers go back to basics

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

      Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade conducted field training exercise Operation Reliable Focus Sept. 27 through Oct. 3 at Fort Riley. Operation Reliable Focus provided the Soldiers an opportunity to reinforce their basic Soldier task and drills ranging from land navigation to drivers training, as well as other various trainings.

     Pfc. Alex J. Pierre, an Intelligence Analyst with the 1st Inf. Div. Sust. Bde., learned and recertified skills he hadn’t practiced since basic combat training and co-instructed an intelligence brief.

     “It’s actually been a learning experience,” Pierre said. “We’re learning what we do on our tactical side instead of just our administrative side. Had it not been for the field I would have not known how to put up a pop or (Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter) tent.”

      While participating in the FTX, Pierre had his fair share of training exercises, stating his favorite was land navigation.

      “My battle buddies made it interesting,” Pierre said. “Talking to my battles made me calmer and gave me more motivation.”

      Although land navigation was enjoyable for Pierre, he did find a few difficulties.

     The daytime was harder because it was easier to confuse another point for yours, Pierre said. “You think more at night due to the low visibility.”

       Pfc. Courtland Hartford, an Intel Analyst 1st Inf. Div. Sust. Bde. works alongside Pierre.

      “I’ve known Pierre since he got here in April,” Hartford said. “He’s a great guy, he’s enthusiastic everyday he comes to work.”

      “I think the training was necessary and it was a good refresher,” Hartford said in reference to the field exercise.

      As part of the brigade intelligence staff, Pierre had an opportunity to team up with his shop battle buddies and conduct a class on the use of sand tables and ground maps.

      “I never had the opportunity to learn how to build sand tables in (U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command),” Pierre said. “In less than 24 hours my (noncommissioned officer) taught me and said I did a job well done.”

      The use of sand tables is a strategic tactic used to develop information about the enemy.

      “A lot of Soldiers don’t know what the sand tables look like,” Hartford said. “We wanted to explain our thinking process.”

       A process that Pierre said must be accurate to get troops on the ground and in their designated locations.

     “As an Intel Analyst, we have to make sure our information is as accurate as it can be, to get the troops on (the) ground where they need to be when they need to be there,” Pierre said. “The sand tables are the best way to show where the enemy is going to be, how to counter their attacks and the best way for our friendly forces to use their fighting abilities.”

     Another training exercise that took place during the FTX was drivers training. It was an opportunity for the Soldiers to not only learn how to drive a military vehicle, but also how to drive in the dark with night-vision goggles in the place of headlights.

     “It was good to do drivers training in the field,” Pierre said. “Being that it was in the field there weren’t any distractions, mental or physical, and we could focus on being proficient in our military driving skills.”

     Chemical, Biological, Nuclear and Radiological training took place while the Soldiers conducted Operation Reliable Focus. CBRN training prepares Soldiers by teaching them the proper use of protective mask should they ever be under a chemical attack or dealing with nerve agents. The Soldiers also learned how to properly put on and wear their protective uniform known as the Joint Services Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology.

     “The uniform was snug when I tried it on but I thought it would keep me protected,” Pierre said.

     During the CBRN training, Pierre said he learned how to clear his new mask properly, which was different from the one he used in basic training.

     “I like the way this one felt and looked.”

     Although he’s still fairly new to the military and the unit, Pierre has high hopes for the unit and its trainings.

     “Keep it being a learning experience; the more we can learn from each other the more we can help each other,” Pierre said.