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56th SBCT holds annual training at Fort Indiantown Gap

By Capt. Cory Johnson | 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team | Sept. 25, 2020

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – The 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team Headquarters and Headquarters Company conducted annual training Sept. 12-26.

The training varied from Stryker driver training to mission command training, to setting up and validating a Tactical Operations Center (TOC).

The training was the first at the brigade level for some of the staff officers of the 56th SBCT.

“Being a part of the Mission Command Training Program was really eye-opening, seeing how all the staff jobs came together as one coherent unit, providing the best product for the commander,” said 2nd Lt. Kyle McMullen.

The MCTP uses approved and emerging Army doctrine, allowing units to achieve training objectives. The operations group of the MCTP observes, coaches and teaches a unit’s staff mission command skills, which are necessary during Unified Land Operations.

“This training has given us the opportunity to fine-tune the skills necessary in the staff planning process,” said Col. Jon Farr, commander of the 56th SBCT. “We can take all the lessons learned, the best practices and deliberately work out the kinks, then figure out how we want to do business, incorporating these skills for future exercises and operations.”

The TOC was set up and validated in conjunction with the mission command training. The TOC is essential to in-theater operations. Its main function is to plan, monitor and direct tactical operations.

“This was a great opportunity to ensure all equipment was present and in good working condition,” said Sgt. Maj. Oscar Laughman. “This gave us the time we needed to conduct battle drills and make sure we are ready to go for future operations.”

Annual training is typically a unit’s culminating event. The 56th SBCT took full advantage of the training space on Fort Indiantown Gap. Besides receiving training from the MCTP and setting up TOC, some members received Stryker driver training.

“Training here on Fort Indiantown Gap gives you a great feel between hardball [asphalt] and off-road paths,” said Spc. Nick Watters. “This training has given me the opportunity to work with my crew, knowing I’m watching out for their safety and wellness, while they let me know of my surroundings. It really emphasizes a team effort.”

“I’m really thankful and proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last week,” Farr said. “We really showcased our abilities and our flexibility.”