After weeks of watching slide presentations and listening to instructors, soldiers are putting their knowledge to the test through the Capstone program.
"This helps them get out of tunnel vision," said Sgt. 1st Class Roy Ebersole, one of the program's instructors
Advanced Individual Training soldiers have spent several weeks learning their specific military job, such as radio operator maintainer or signal support systems specialist. Through Capstone, they work with soldiers outside their specialty to learn the big picture and how they all fit into the battle plan.
Advanced Individual Training students typically have been in the Army only a few months. Many attend the class after basic training.
"The Army was finding that when it came to those (newly) out of AIT in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were more accidents," Ebersole said. "They weren't trained for that environment."
In the scenario-based training, soldiers spend a week in the field practicing what they've learned.
Sometimes they must perform their tasks under pressure of an enemy attack, he said.
Weapons qualification is another aspect of Capstone.
"We try to make it as realistic as possible to prepare them," Ebersole said.
On a recent exercise, trainees were required to set up an antenna they'd never seen before. An instructor stood close by to make sure there were no safety violations, but it was up to the soldiers to figure out how to install the antenna.
The Capstone training will be expanding over the coming months, Ebersole said.
The program has received $1.5 million in additional equipment so that in January, satellite operators will be able to participate in the exercise.
With the new equipment, the program will double to about 200 students per week, Ebersole said.
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