New Cadets Learn from the best in the Army Reserve

10/23/2017   By Spc. Adam Parent
 

Approximately 2,200 new officer cadets are attending Cadet Basic Training (CBT) at the United States Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, N.Y., this summer. Aug. 4, 2017, a company of 125 new Soldiers were given weapons familiarization courses with the M240B machine gun, M136 AT4 light anti-armor weapon, M203 grenade launcher, and M18A1 Claymore mine. While the institution they are attending is an Active Army installation, many of the instructors at CBT are Army Reserve Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion of the 304th Infantry Regiment, 104th Training Division (Leader Training), 108th Training command, from Saco, Maine.

For over 30 years the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment’s mission has revolved around instructing new cadets during their annual training in the summer.

“Day to day this is our main mission here,” says Sergeant 1st Class Jason Sirois, a senior training non-commissioned officer (NCO) with the 3/304th Infantry Regiment. “Throughout the year we train our team up to complete this mission on our drill weekends.”

image

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Christopher Wainwright, a trainer with the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment (United States Military Academy), 104th Training Division (Leadership Training), from Saco, Maine, points a new officer cadet from the U.S. Military Academy towards a shooting position on an M240B machine gun range as part of a weapons familiarization course at West Point, NY, Aug. 4, 2017. Instructors from the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment have been tasked with training incoming cadets at West Point for over 30 years. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Adam Parent

The mission of the 3/304th Infantry Regiment is unique for an Army Reserve unit because of the close ties it has with the Active Duty Army at the USMA. While most Army Reserve units focus on training for their own soldiers, the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment trains to teach other Soldiers.

U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Gregory Girard, a trainer with the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment (United States Military Academy), 104th Training Division (Leadership Training), from Saco, Maine, coaches a new officer cadet on firing the M240B machine gun as part of a weapons familiarization course at West Point, N.Y., Aug. 4, 2017. Girard joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 2012 after serving on active duty in the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Stewart, Ga. Instructors from the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment have been tasked with training incoming cadets at West Point for over 30 years.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Adam Parent

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Daryl Reed, a trainer with the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment (U.S. Military Academy), 104th Training Divison (Leadership Training), from Saco, Maine, instructs upper class cadets on how to safely run a machine gun range at West Point, N.Y., Aug. 4, 2017. Instructors from the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment have been tasked with training incoming cadets at West Point for over 30 years.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Adam Parent

U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Gregory Girard, a trainer with the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment (U.S. Military Academy), 104th Training Division (Leadership Training), from Saco, Maine, demonstrates the basic functions of an M240B machine gun to new officer cadets at West Point, N.Y., Aug. 4, 2017. Girard joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 2012 after serving on active duty in the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Stewart, Ga. Instructors from the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment have been tasked with training incoming cadets at West Point for over 30 years.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Adam Parent

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. John Walsh with the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment (U.S. Military Academy), 104th Training Division (Leadership Training), from Saco, Maine, instructs a new officer cadet on the setup of an M18 Claymore mine by using a training device on a shooting range at West Point, N.Y., Aug. 4, 2017. Instructors from the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment have been tasked with training incoming cadets at West Point for over 30 years.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Adam Parent

“In order to train the best, you have to be the best,” says Sergeant 1st Class Charlie Crouchman, a training NCO with the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment. “We try to always lead by example.”

Setting the example for other soldiers is not difficult for the experienced NCOs that make up the 3/304th Infantry Regiment, because the unit is filled with Soldiers from a variety of military occupational specialties with decades of experience in the Army. Their ranks include Soldiers with specialization in signal support systems, motor transport, military intelligence, infantry, maintenance supervision, and financial management.

Their broad range of experience perfectly suits their mission to train new cadets, because each Soldier in the unit can teach something unique to their students. Additionally, their status as Soldiers in the Army Reserve gives them the unique benefit of incorporating their experiences outside the Army in their teaching style.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Wainwright is his unit’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention representative, and also investigates sexual crimes in his civilian job as a police captain. Because of his civilian career he is able to approach the procedures and goals of the Army’s SHARP mission from a different perspective than a typical Soldier.

The various perspectives and teaching styles brought by the NCOs of the 3/304th Infantry Regiment benefit the new cadets when they learn how to operate the weapons for the first time. The weapons familiarization training begins with classes and lectures where cadets can begin handling the weapons the day before actual firing commences.

The next morning the cadets are up early and begin firing the M240B machine gun at 7 a.m. sharp. Four non-commissioned officers with the 3/304th Infantry Regiment walk up and down the firing line, where they provide instructions to cadets on how to safely operate the weapons, adjust their aim, and remedy malfunctions.

As soon as the firing portion is complete, the cadets clean up the expended casings and metal links that connect the rounds together. Immediately after that they load up their rucksacks and march to the next range, where they fire the M136 AT4 light anti-armor weapon and the M203 grenade launcher. After that they march on to fire the M18A1 Claymore mine.

To properly teach cadets about each of these weapon systems the instructors from the 3/304th Infantry Regiment must all be subject matter experts. This means each NCO in the unit is cross-trained on every weapon they use in the CBT program.

“We have people who were on different ranges last year teaching different subjects this year so that we have subject matter experts on everything, not just one topic,” says Wainwright.

The incoming class at the USMA is in good hands this summer thanks to the wealth of knowledge and experience possessed by the U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 3/304th Infantry Regiment.

Comments & Ratings
rating
  Comments

There is no comment.

   

Bookmark and Share Follow us on:
The Griffon Summer 2017

Vol. 41.3 | Fall 2017

The Griffon
The Griffon is written and published quarterly in the interest of the 108th National Training Command.
 






Skip Navigation Links.





Published By    -  Other Publications: SouthEast Education Network   |   Carolina Fire Rescue EMS Journal