Junior Leaders Relish Opportunity To Shape Soldiers
by Terrance Bell, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs
March 21, 2020
The Quartermaster Field Training Exercise here is a capstone
event in which thousands of advanced individual training Soldiers
annually rehearse the technical and tactical tasks required to be
operationally ready when they arrive at their first duty stations.
Like every other military operation, it does not run itself.
That is the job of mostly midgrade noncoms and fewer than a dozen
junior-enlisted Soldiers who serve as evaluators and general support
personnel. The team sees it as a golden opportunity to make an
imprint on the next generation of logisticians.
Among them is Sgt. Cody Jewett, a 92W water treatment specialist
with nearly five years of military service. The 30-year-old said he
had duties elsewhere four months ago, but his former workplace
experiences are greatly overshadowed by his role as an evaluator.
“I love being out here helping these Soldiers,” said Jewett,
who’s assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 23rd QM
Brigade. His response was interjected between hand signals and vocal
commands as he guided students through exercise lanes at Training
Area 33. “What you see here is a high level of engagement; they are
excited and motivated to do this. At the end of the day, they’ve
accumulated a wealth of knowledge. They’ll take something with them
to carry on.”
Each QMFTX – staged weekly among several
training areas leading northward from A Avenue and 38th Street – is
a three-night, four-day affair. It provides students with
opportunities to demonstrate skills in warrior tasks and battle
drills, scenario-based training and occupational specialties.
Roughly 2,100 Soldiers participate in the QM School event on a
December 5, 2019 -
Sgt. Fredrick Omolo, Direct Support to the Exercise,
evaluates the throws of two advanced individual training
Soldiers at the grenade training facility located adjacent
to Training Area 23 recently. (Photo by Terrance Bell, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs)
If not for their roles in the exercise, Jewett and his 20-or-so
fellow HHC unit members would be fulfilling MOS-specific jobs
throughout the brigade. Their QMFTX responsibilities under the
Direct Support to the Training Exercise element include managing the
brigade support areas as well as fulfilling roles as facilitators
and graders, he said.
“We brief students on what we expect on
the lanes,” Jewett said of the latter, “and we evaluate the Soldiers
(using grading sheets) as they are going through the lanes.”
The mission of training support keeps the DSTE Soldiers working
8-hour-plus days for most of the month. A week’s break is provided
for the Soldiers to regroup and prepare for the next iterations.
Spc. Michael Bailey, a 92F petroleum supply specialist with four
years of service under his belt, has been working as a training
evaluator since he arrived here a few months ago. He said engaging
with future warriors has provided him a great sense of empowerment.
“It makes me feel like a real steward in the Army,” he said. “It
also gives me a sense of responsibility, even though it is outside
of my MOS. These young Soldiers are going to be our brothers and
sisters who will eventually serve with us. Whether it’s active duty,
National Guard or Reserve, we’re going to rub shoulders. It’s an
honor to do it. Everyone doesn’t get the opportunity to do it. I get
to put my touch on things, tell them what I know and share with them
Bailey, who normally works on the grenade
lanes, said he and others help prepare Soldiers for the graded
events during round-robin training that includes tasks such as
medical evacuation. Guiding students through the training and
evaluating their performances has a cumulative effect on Bailey and
his fellow evaluators: they learn just as much as those they are
helping to train.
“I know it sounds cliché and corny, but for
someone like me – a specialist who is promotable and ready to become
a sergeant – the training is helping out,” he said, noting his last
job at Fort Carson, Colo., did not present such an opportunity. “The
job is preparing me to train and communicate with my future
Spc. Christopher Dennis, also a 92F, was in
agreement, saying the countless interactions with students are
immeasurable in helping to improve his troop leading skills. He also
said the constant training pace acts as a refresher, helping to
cement his ability to perform critical Soldier tasks.
are things out here we don’t do every day in the Army,” he said of
the lane training. “It allows me the opportunity to brush up on
things I learned in basic (combat training) and AIT.”
evaluators admitted there are many difficult aspects of the job.
Several of them agreed motivating the Soldiers to consistently put
forth their best efforts – especially in bad weather – is an ongoing
“The most difficult part is trying to keep them focused,” said
DSTE’s Sgt. Marquis Turner, noting he sometimes has to resort to the
unconventional. “I use techniques that make them aware and keeps
them upbeat and engaged on a professional level. If I show a
positive attitude, that’s what will be reflected back at us.”
December 5, 2019 - With an audience of attentive students, Sgt. Marquis Turner provides a performance critique during a break in a recent Quartermaster Field Training Exercise at Training Area 33. (Photo by Terrance Bell, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs)
Sgt. Kehinde Afolabi, Turner’s fellow evaluator, said the work
can get arduous due to the sheer amounts of Soldiers undergoing
instruction. He said the workload, however, is countered by the
potential rewards he and his fellow evaluators will likely reap when
they are assigned to operational units.
“I love teaching,” he
said, “and teaching all these Soldiers – imparting my knowledge – it
makes me feel like I’m doing something good for the Army.”
More than 20,000 Soldiers this year will undergo training during the
QMFTX. Many thousands more across the Sustainment Center of
Excellence footprint will complete field evaluations conducted by
the Ordnance School, the Army Logistics University and others.
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