Tonight we head out to the Contingency Operating Location (COL) to train on some things that we may or may not have already done. It will not be that exciting I am sure. COL is the new nomenclature for what used to be a Forward Operating Base (FOB). It is pretty much just a big area with a bunch of tents and trailers for living and operating for a few days. In real life, these places are where Soldiers live and do things while deployed forward in Iraq.
Unfortunately, we are heading out simply to redo training that we already did while we were at RTC last month. At least that is what I am guessing, if the last two weeks have been any indication of how First Army actually runs Mobilization Training Center (MTC). It appears since RTC is not yet a requirement for mobilizing units, MTC doesn’t really accept most of the training done there for some reason, even though RTC is actually instructed by instructors who are very knowledgeable in what they are instructing. At the time, RTC seemed like it was just a way for the Army to “check the block” with deploying units, but looking back now, it is abundantly apparent that they knew what they were doing. Meanwhile, First Army and MTC have horrible instructors and unnecessary blocks of instruction, some of which we did better on our own even prior to RTC. The Army Reserve needs to come to a better balance between the two; either teach it all at RTC with MTC simply reserved for final validation of administrative and medical, or have instruction at MTC that is worthwhile and an addition to what was taught at RTC.