Capt. Vanessa Li
322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, 9th Mission Support Command
FORT SHAFTER FLATS — The 9th Mission Support Command’s 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, kicked off its first-ever U.S. Army Reserve MEB Academy, here, Sept. 17-18.
During the two-day event, the 303rd MEB teamed with instructors from the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, or MSCoE; Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; to train nearly 100 leaders and staff members on MEB roles and responsibilities.
Visiting TRADOC instructors and MEB subject matter experts, or SMEs, shared credible, up-to-date operational and strategic information from leaders in the field, via round table discussions, breakout sessions and other forums.
“(The training) has given me a clear picture of what is expected,” said 2nd Lt. John Pinpin, military intelligence officer, 303rd MEB. “(The instructors) have so much knowledge; I just want to pick their brains.”
This MEB Academy was the 303rd MEB’s homegrown answer to the challenge of seeking operational capability within the next two years, while having the title of the Army’s newest MEB.
Col. Randy Hart, commander, 303rd MEB, said the brigade’s focus since activation has been learning and meeting MEB doctrinal objectives.
“(We decided) the best way to do that was to engage the MEB (SMEs) at Fort Leonard Wood, (and) that’s exactly what we did,” Hart said.
A month after standing up the brigade, Hart and key staff members traveled to visit MEB experts in Missouri. This initial visit spawned the academy.
Hart praised Maj. Stacey Goodman, executive officer, 303rd MEB, for paving the way and presenting the academy concept to key leaders at the MSCoE.
“When Goodman presented the academy concept, … they were more than just pleasantly surprised on what she had conceptualized,” Hart said. “Her academy concept melded perfectly with what the MSCoE was in the midst of planning. Hence, (it was) one of the main reasons the MSCoE chose the 303rd MEB as the MEB to implement the academy.”
Just months later, this locally hosted course will help the recently activated brigade train its reservists quickly.
Lt. Col. Michael Lockwood, deputy commander, 303rd MEB, fully supports and believes in the academy’s ability to train the unit’s Soldiers in MEB functions and tasks.
“(The academy) gives our Soldiers training from the ground up, on how to do their jobs doctrinally,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Randy Harr, senior enlisted leader, 303rd MEB. “We want everyone, of all ranks, to know what a MEB is and how to run it successfully.”
The weekend’s activities were just the beginning.
The Reserve-focused academy will continue throughout the year ahead. It will primarily be conducted during select battle assemblies or weekend drills, and it will be supplemented by individual self-study.
The academy will incorporate real-world experience from active duty, National Guard and Reserve MEBs into practical exercises, using diverse training venues and products that provide unit members with guidance on MEB functions, capabilities and doctrine.
Training efforts will culminate in a capstone event that is scheduled for August 2012 during extended combat training at the MSCoE.