Skip to comments.Commander says Fort Hood training 'of very little value' (TEXAS)
Posted on 05/06/2005 8:13:09 AM PDT by Dubya
A commander with the Iowa Army National Guard says training problems at a Texas Army base left his unit ill-prepared for duty in Iraq, according to a copyrighted story in The Des Moines Register.
Capt. Aaron Baugher of Ankeny, Iowa, was the commander of the first Iowa infantry division trained at Fort Hood. In a report obtained by the Register, he said the 2004 training "was of very little value and poorly instructed" by soldiers who typically had never served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Baugher's unit of 58 soldiers, the 194th Long-Range Surveillance Detachment of Johnston, returned to Iowa in late February after nearly a year in Iraq.
"Having been in Iraq ... conducting combat operations on a wide spectrum, we can confidently say we did not learn a thing at Fort Hood," Baugher wrote.
Col. Luke Green, chief of staff of the Fifth U.S. Army, said Baugher's complaint emphasizes the short training schedule part-time and reserve units have to become combat-ready.
"This is like getting your football team on the first of August and you have a game on the first of September, and you are working ... hard to get people ready, except in this situation people can die," Green said.
About 40 percent of all U.S. forces in Iraq are Guard or Reserve members.
Baugher's report said that in some situations, veteran Iowa soldiers had to correct instructors at Fort Hood.
No soldiers in Baugher's unit were killed, but one was seriously injured when he was shot by a sniper.
Col. Al Dochnal, a regular Army officer who commanded the brigade that trained the Iowa unit, disagreed with Baugher and said the Iowa soldiers received excellent training.
Brig. Gen. Mark Zirkelbach, deputy adjutant general of the Iowa Army National Guard, said he traveled to Fort Hood last year to personally address Baugher's complaints. He said he met with the commander of a garrison support unit and was told that corrective actions were being taken.
Zirkelbach said his primary concern was to ensure that 700 soldiers from the Iowa National Guard Task Force 168, which arrived soon after Baugher's unit, didn't have the same problems. The result, he said, was that the Task Force 168 soldiers had a better experience than the 194th infantry detachment.
"We owe it to our soldiers to give them the best chance of survival that we can. That was really the message that we took to Fort Hood," Zirkelbach said.
Baugher's report also detailed problems in his unit getting the equipment it needed before it was deployed.
A CPT is not the commander of a division - try a Major General (2 Stars).
Glad you caught that, too. How are we supposed to take a news article seriously, if the reporter can't even be bothered to get a simple, and glaringly wrong fact straight?
Well, Just between the two of you, I didn't learn a whole hell of a lot from the time I spent at Fort Benning pre-deploying to Iraq in 03.
Too many people who knew too little of what they spoke.
Pretty hard to fix without taking the veterans out of the combat zone.
Yep, good catch!
Of all the Captains in a division, if one happens to be disgruntled, you can count on the AP to find him...and call him a "Commander" no less.
The AP noted this was a copyrighted story from the leftist Des Moines Register, a Ganett rag now barely covering two counties in central Iowa.
True but the correct answer is revealed in the next sentence.
Baugher's unit of 58 soldiers, the 194th Long-Range Surveillance Detachment of Johnston
So the Captain is the commander of a detachment, smaller than a Company in size, a specialized unit, and appropriate for a Captain to command.
In their usual sloppy reporting, they obvious left out the words "part of" modifying the word "division". Or better yet, they should have substituted "unit" for "division".
He may have been a disgruntled (sp) captain, but if he believed what he was doing, he was a brave one, because I'm sure his career is now over.
One thing I learned the hard way was that if you want a rewarding military experience, one does not critique those above you. They have a million and one ways of getting even.
Dave Yepsen, the Register's political reporter was in the Iowa guard in the 1970s. I'll bet his face is red today.
Possibly of interest . . .
Bottom line: the Army needs more active duty troops. With or without the war. The reserves are good people, but they are not cutting it. Resume the draft.
I went to Ft Bliss, and actually I thought they did a bang up job there for training. I do know later classes didnt get quite the same level of support though. We were one of the first to rotate and be ship to Kuwiat and then Iraq. When I returned to recoup I noticed the level of defense training had diminished.
We do not need a drafted army.
I hope that comment needed a sarcasm tag.
Please explain why they are not "cutting it", cite some examples. You have no idea what NG and Reserve forces do.
I would expect that it depends on the unit.
The training is conducted (or was in Benning) by reserve training divisions that teach very basic, and in my case Bosnia oriented events.
The training was professional and the trainers did their best with the information that they were given, but the course of instruction and the standard of training was not relevent to all organizations.
In the case with special operators such as a LRRS-D, I would expect that the broad brush that the army uses as standards of training didn't do much to assist the captain. I had the same experience with Benning with my CID battalion. What exactly would a training division know about war crimes and mass grave sites?
You may have had a different experience at Bliss but, I expect that the majority of the training that you got was standard army instruction that you had on your training schedules during the year.
Big Army decided that, when you mobilized, you had to do it all again to prove to them that you did it the first time.
No, the conscript army we had in WWII, Vietnam and Korea did just fine. The volunteer/day-care army we have now is much more expensive, much smaller and much more feminine that it needs to be to win a Bostonge, Tet or Pusan Perimeter. The only sarcasm needed is when folks talk about having "the most professional army" we've ever had.
Well, the very fact that the average combat unit is requiring six to twelve months of training would in my mind qualify as "not cutting it". I'd also look to the fact that most units that redeploy go to C4 because of the number of personnel who leave. Patrolling missions in Bosnia and the Sinai do not equate to deploying to Korea and fighting another Pusan Perimeter.
"You have no idea what NG and Reserve forces do."
Well, having spent 32 months assigned to a Readiness Group whose primary mission was to evaluate National Guard and Reserve units; having been in the National Guard member from 17 1/2 to 24 and; having been tagged a half dozen times to evaluate NG/Reverve units while stationed with the 82d at Fort Bragg; I'd say I have a fairly good idea of what the Army Reserve/National Guard forces are supposed to do and how well they do it.
Combat Support and Combat Service Support missions performed above division level are the right place for the reserves. Ports, Civil Affairs, Engineering, Medical Ops are fine. If we expect to be able to deploy to and fight a real war against a large, well armed and determined army then we'd had better have one of our own. The United States has been lucky in that since 1973 we've been fighting the military equivalent of the Keystone Cops. That may not last.
"The volunteer/day-care army" or navy/af...
Day-care! hahaha...more truth then folks want to admit...
Time for you and the kids to go home. You're not cutting it.
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