FORT McCOY, Wis. –
More than 35 Soldiers from over 30 Army commands participated in the annual Paralegal Warrior Training Course July 14-29, 2022, at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
The PWTC allows paralegal Soldiers the opportunity to achieve unit training readiness requirements by demonstrating individual and collective task proficiency across peace and wartime missions.
“The PWTC is critical in ensuring reserve component commanders have capable paralegals ready to support their missions,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dexter Taylor, chief paralegal for the 88th Readiness Division. "Generally, paralegals come to the reserve component ready to support the active Army component when called upon. However, there are some differences between the way the it and the reserve component operates. PWTC takes the knowledge paralegals obtained during advanced individual training and shows them how it applies in the reserve component.”
For the 88th RD, the PWTC gives it the opportunity to fulfill its responsibilities as one of only four geographical region commands responsible for the synchronization of United States Army Reserve activities.
“One way the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate for the 88th RD can get after this mission is to assist in providing quality training to Army Reserve legal personnel,” Taylor said. “The PWTC provides an excellent opportunity for us to interface with paralegals in our region and ensure they are ready and capable of supporting their reserve command’s missions as well as the larger Army mission both in peacetime and wartime.”
Similarly, the PWTC gives the 181st Multifunctional Training Brigade, as part of First Army, the opportunity to partner with USAR units and Soldiers to build and maintain readiness.
“The purpose of the 181st MFTB is establishing routine relationships, building trust and enabling the Army Total Force Policy,” Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Huebbe, a paralegal observer coach/trainer for the 181st MFTB, said. “About 30 percent of the paralegals, both as students and cadre, are assigned to 181st MFTB partner units, so I am able to establish and continue the relationship with our partner units.”
Participants of the PWTC spent approximately a week in the classroom learning about core paralegal competencies, and then approximately another week conducting field training exercises that ranged from assaulting an objective to detainee operations.
For Sgt. Ryan Lamb, a paralegal specialist with the 76th Operational Response Command, the PWTC has been a great training opportunity for him and his classmates.
“This has been a type of education that has focused not only on the paralegal side, but also on the combat side, so you can integrate both of those practices together,” he said. “We’re able to see where things come together. It’s one thing to think about it in a classroom setting, and hear about how ideally things are supposed to happen, but out in the field, things are not ideal, problems happen and you have to overcome and adapt to those situations.”
The field training exercise portion also gave participating Soldiers the opportunity to build camaraderie with Soldiers outside of their home units under stressful and fast-paced conditions.
“Most of the paralegals here are go-getters, are smart and like to be right, and have strong personalities,” Spc. Anna Pauletta, a paralegal specialist for the 352nd Military Police Company, 333rd MP Brigade, 200th MP Command, said. “It has been a process of overcoming those things, becoming more cohesive and understanding, and we have all of these different unit cultures and norms clashing together, so it has been fun adapting and blending all of those things together.”
Having fun while building camaraderie and cohesiveness amongst the Soldiers is one of the things that instructors of PWTC enjoy watching.
“What I enjoy most about PWTC is working with junior Soldiers,” Taylor said. “I enjoy seeing their eyes light up when they learn something new and the confidence they build in their skills and abilities from the start of the course to the end.”
In the eyes of Pauletta, the cadre of the 88th RD and 181st MFTB ran a successful training environment and would recommend it to all paralegal Soldiers.
“There is so much to learn here,” she said. “You can never learn enough when it comes to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and the material we use to help advise commanders. Regardless of your component, this is definitely a class worth taking. Not only do you get to learn about a lot of great material we use to do our jobs, but you get a really great experience out in the field practicing battle drills to tie it all together.”
The PWTC has been held at Fort McCoy annually since 2009.