715th MI ‘bridges the basics’ on a daily basis

| January 24, 2014 | 0 Comments
Lanzet

Lanzet

Sgt. Joshua Lanzet
715th Military Intelligence Battalion
500th MI Brigade

The 715th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, differs from many other units throughout the Army.

We support and maintain real-world missions, 24/7, 365 days.

The Soldiers who comprise the 715th stare down our nation’s potential adversaries on a daily basis. In our battle space, the foes are never at rest and neither are we.

One would think the demands of tracking the nation’s strategic-level adversaries would degrade our training. However, by establishing a system of proactive programs and empowering junior leaders, the exemplary professional standards to which we hold ourselves are sustainable.

The 715th has always worked a 24/7, 365 mission and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Combine that challenging shift work schedule with a firm reliance on modern technology, and you can easily get a recipe for the diminishing of basic Soldiering skills, professionalism, morale, training and mission-readiness.

What we have learned is that the proper application of tried and true leadership techniques, modified for our present situation, can be a recipe for success. For example, our battalion maintains an excellent noncommissioned officer education system graduation rate, and our Soldiers consistently comprise a sizeable portion of the commandant’s list at Warrior Leadership Course (WLC). These results can be attributed to our focused approach to training Soldiers prior to attending WLC.

Despite our strategic mission, we recognize the importance that tactical competence plays in the Army, so we come together to work on individual and collective skills throughout the year during battalion training days.

Furthermore, all Soldiers from the battalion are required to go through a weeklong Warrior Development Course (WDC) about six months prior to their WLC class start date; most complete it a week or two prior to their start date. Graduates of WLC then

volunteer to teach WDC classes to ensure the other junior leaders are fully prepared.

The motivation and dedication that WLC graduates provide to future graduates is one of the ways this unit has identified how to execute the bridging of the basics. Motivated trainers create motivated Soldiers, Soldiers who earned distinction train Soldiers to earn distinction, and all the Soldiers go to WLC better prepared.

WLC is not the only training facet the unit excels in. Large portions of our ranks are comprised of cryptologic linguist Soldiers. Army linguists require a unique training environment; despite the near 2.5 years of initial training for certain languages — like Arabic, Chinese and Korean, their language skills can quickly atrophy. Knowing this, the 715th established a robust language mentorship program using cutting-edge technologies, workflow management tools and annual, internal language training in preparation for annual testing.

Direct face-to-face interaction of users and mentors has truly enabled our Linguist Corps to maintain and excel in language proficiency.

These are two prime examples of how the 715th uses and incorporates to demonstrate our commitment to professionalism, knowledge management, field craft and, most importantly, to one another.

It is of note that neither of the above programs are executed by senior leadership; instead, they provide the purpose, motivation and direction and then empower junior leaders to take the lead in enforcing standards. Junior leaders’ commitment to training ensures that Soldiers are equipped to handle the constant stress of performing our real-world mission every day.

That is how the tradition of excellence is being passed down in our unit, a case study of how the Army can shape itself as a whole to guarantee continued success.

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Category: News, Standing Columns

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