8th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) Soldiers learn leadership, tactics and teamwork

Soldiers from 8th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) conduct a raid on a MOUT, military operations in urban terrain, training site at Fort Pickett, Va., August 20, 2015. The raid is part of the culmination exercise for the Light Leaders Course run by the Virginia National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 183rd Infantry Regiment’s Regional Training Institute. The U.S. Special Operations Command Soldiers participated in the 14-day long course aimed at teaching infantry skills to non-combat military occupational specialties. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Brady, 8th MISG (A) Public Affairs)

Soldiers from 8th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) conduct a raid on a MOUT, military operations in urban terrain, training site at Fort Pickett, Va., August 20, 2015. The raid is part of the culmination exercise for the Light Leaders Course run by the Virginia National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 183rd Infantry Regiment’s Regional Training Institute. The U.S. Special Operations Command Soldiers participated in the 14-day long course aimed at teaching infantry skills to non-combat military occupational specialties. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Brady,
8th MISG (A) Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Psychological Operations specialists from 8th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) recently graduated the U.S. Army Light Leaders Course at Fort Pickett, Va. The 14-day course, conducted by the Virginia National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 183rd Infantry Regiment’s Regional Training Institute, focuses on teaching back-to-basics infantry skills to non-commissioned officers.

This most recent iteration was unique because it was the first time the course was comprised entirely of active-duty U.S. Army Special Operations Command Soldiers. Psychological Operations or Psyop is an element of USASOC, which has a tremendous amount of talent, intellect and creativity, and, while every Soldier is combat ready, their special missions require more combat training.

The specialized infantry training and leadership skills taught during the Light Leaders Course are beneficial to Psyop Soldiers because it makes the integration between combat focused Special Operations Forces and non-combat skilled Soldiers much easier. Psychological Operations Soldiers are embedded with SOF tactical elements regularly and conduct operations around the world making this unique training opportunity even more useful to their interoperability.

Soldiers from 8th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) conduct a raid on a MOUT, military operations in urban terrain, training site at Fort Pickett, Va., August 20, 2015. The raid is part of the culmination exercise for the Light Leaders Course run by the Virginia National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 183rd Infantry Regiment’s Regional Training Institute. The U.S. Special Operations Command Soldiers participated in the 14-day long course aimed at teaching infantry skills to non-combat military occupational specialties. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Brady, 8th MISG (A) Public Affairs)

Soldiers from 8th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) conduct a raid on a MOUT, military operations in urban terrain, training site at Fort Pickett, Va., August 20, 2015. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Brady,
8th MISG (A) Public Affairs)

Sgt. 1st Class Brian Worth, 8th MISG (A), participated in the course and believed it was a great way to teach non-combat Soldiers basic infantry skills.

“A lot of folks who come to our community come from non-combat military occupational specialties so they have little to no experience working in small units and may not have a lot of experience patrolling so this is a good course to give our guys a strong baseline for how to conduct those small unit tactics,” said Worth.

The course focuses on a wide-variety of infantry skills including land navigation, battle drills, patrolling, military mountaineering, weapons familiarization, detainee operations and knot tying to name a few. Located at Fort Pickett, Va., the Regional Training Institute boasts a 58 million-dollar school complex on more than 43,000 acres, complete with a wide variety of modern ranges and training sites. While the training area itself is well equipped, the true benefit to these Psyop Soldiers is the opportunity to train with National Guard Infantry Soldiers specialized in both their military and civilian careers.

Many of the RTI cadre have diverse civilian backgrounds in law enforcement, firearms instruction and other occupations, which translate well to the educational environment. According to Lt. Col. Charlton Dunn, commander 1st Battalion, 183rd Infantry Regiment (RTI), the varied backgrounds of these instructors, coupled with their unique training style, makes this a one-of-a-kind training opportunity.

“It’s not what the instructor knows that is going to educate the student it’s the ability of the instructor to engage the student’s interest in the material and draw out from the students their experiences,” said Dunn.

The class was a tremendous success and showcased the importance of teaching or sharpening the infantry skills and tasks of non-combat Soldiers. As the relationship between Fort Bragg and the RTI continues to grow, the possibility of increased training opportunities becomes more likely.

“The next step is to improve on what we’ve done and plan ahead for next year and do as many iterations that we can support for Fort Bragg Soldiers,” said Dunn.

Story by Staff Sgt. Sean Brady, 8th MISG (A) Public Affairs