JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J – One year after the 174th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East mobilized its 2nd Battalion, 309th Regiment from the Ready Reserve ranks, the training reigns changed hands and 2nd Bn, 312th Regiment Soldiers began their year-long mobilization at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
The 2nd Battalion, 312th Regiment, a sister unit out of Coraopolis, Pa., assumed official responsibility for the 2-309th’s mission set during a Transition of Authority ceremony at Sharp Field.
“It’s been a great experience for both our leaders and our Soldiers,” said outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Dale Hanavan, a Liverpool, N.Y. native and 33-year Army veteran,. “Many of them have transferred to the 2-312th. It keeps stability on the lanes but is a challenge for our battalion to rebuild the ranks.”
The 174th Infantry Brigade, part of First Army Division East, is a multi-composition Brigade comprised of Active duty and mobilized Reserve component Soldiers, and is made of active duty and reserve battalions. As part of the Army’s Force Generation, five-year cycle, each year, the 174th Inf Bde mobilizes one of their Reserve battalions to support their training mission.
“The hard part is sustaining unit capabilities during reset after the trained and qualified Soldiers transition with the mission,” added Hanavan.
During the mobilization, or available year, individual Soldiers gain the needed training expertise and instructor proficiency. Fully integrating the Army’s Reserve Component forces is the focus of the Army Total Force and Army Forces Generation policies. Critical training periods and streamlined communication with the Regular Army during the train/ready years are keys to the integration process, said Maj. Joseph Pyun, operations officer with the 174th Infantry Brigade.
Several of the former 2-309th leaders and observer-controller/trainers elected to transfer to the 2-312th, ensuring training continuity amongst the Patriot Brigade. Instructors assigned to training lanes and ranges along with elements of the former command team help make the transition smooth.
“Mission first’ has long been an Army mantra,” explained recently promoted Command Sgt. Maj. Jamison Johnson, former master sergeant in 2-309th Headquarters Company, now command sergeant major for the incoming mobilized 2-312th battalion. “The needs of the Army always come first, and sometimes that means taking from one (unit) to support another. The goal is to provide the best training for the deploying service members on our lanes.”
In order to maintain quality training, new 2-312th Reservists began home station train-up more than a year prior to reporting.
“We trained a lot back in Coraopolis before getting here in September in order to left-seat, right-seat train with the teams we would be replacing,” said Army Master Sgt. Jeffrey Held, a senior Army combat medic who previously served as an activated Combat Lifesaver OC/T in 2009. “Training deploying service members is a very rewarding mission; I jumped at the opportunity to get back at it again.”
Part of the changeover train-up included ensuring 2-312th instructors obtained various certifications, including the Army Basic Instructor Course, Modern Army Combatives Program Level One, Combat Lifesaver Course, and the First Army Academy Observer Controller/Trainer course.
During their year-long mobilization, Soldiers with the 2-312th will focus on Drivers Training lanes, Army Warrior Tasks and battle drills along with the Modern Army Combatives Program familiarization for deploying service members.
The overall mission of the 174th Infantry Brigade remains, in coordination with Joint Base and mission partners, to execute and certify individual and collective training in accordance with theater specific standards. The mission is designated for U.S. Army Reserve, National Guard, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard units to prepare soldiers, sailors, airmen and coast guardsmen for deployment in support of Overseas Contingency Operations; and on order, to support Reserve Component forces to generate improved readiness within Rotational Distributed Forces.