Getting them ready for deployment:
CAMP ATTERBURY, IN (03/11/17) — “Overlap those shields, no gaps!” With a smile on her face and a bellow in her voice, Sgt. Sarah Covert corrects the technique of Soldiers during a recent class on crowd control operations.
In her role as Pre- and Post-Mobilization Training (PPMT) instructor, Covert’s job is to make sure that these Soldiers are ready for the rigors of deployment.
“I know they are exhausted and almost falling asleep in the classroom.” Covert said, “We work extra hard to get the training groups motivated. We get them pumped up and they just have a blast.”
As a graduate of both the Army Basic Instructor and Small Group Instructor courses, Covert understands the value of keeping the students engaged, particularly with new classes.
“If the training is boring and mundane, then they won’t retain it. But if we have fun with the instruction, it’s going to stick longer.”
More than 500 Soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment and 371st Sustainment Brigade are preparing for deployments to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in the Middle East later this year. All Soldiers are required to be validated on a variety of critical skills prior to mobilizing.
“Sometimes it’s intimidating, no one is always on their game,” Covert said. “I have my days where I’m not motivated. But I look at it as when I put on this uniform I’m representing the United States Army. If I am out there whining, then the lower enlisted are going to think that’s O.K. rather than Soldiering up.”
As one of the few female instructors, Covert understands that how she conducts herself can have far reaching ramifications.
“I need to be an example for these Soldiers coming up in the ranks.” Covert said. “I need to show them what it means to dig deep. You don’t feel like doing it — it doesn’t matter. You aren’t doing it for you, you are doing it for the person standing to your left and to your right.”
Having been in the Ohio Army National Guard since 2005 and with one deployment under her belt, Covert said she plans to stay in the Guard for the foreseeable future.
“There is absolutely no other organization in the world where you can bring so many different people from so many walks of life and they can connect on such a level that they consider each other Family,” Covert said. “So many different opposing views and personalities, just to come together so seamlessly is amazing. To be a part of it is one of the greatest privileges of my life.”