Two employees from the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) recently participated in a “greening” excursion in which they interacted in situation training exercises with Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard, 1st Battalion 69th Infantry unit.

“The engineers attended the training exercise as a result of an ARDEC Strategic Management System task to increase our workforce’s visibility of its impact to the warfighter,” said Brian Gruchacz, Strategic Foresight Planner, Warfighter Central, Enterprise Systems Integration Center, ARDEC.

“Executed as an ARDEC Warfighter Central Office ‘greening’ event, the National Guard unit’s weekend training provided a unique opportunity to better understand the environment in which Army materiel is utilized, a majority of which is supported by and developed at Picatinny,” Gruchacz added.

Nicholas Schan and Russ Adams traveled to Camp Smith in Cortlandt Manor, New York, to take part in the exercise from April 28-30. Kevin Singer, a statistician at Picatinny Arsenal and a member of the 69th Infantry unit, provided coordination with his command element and ensured that the Picatinny visitors were able to interact with a wide variety of the Soldiers both in terms of ranks and occupational specialties.

“This would allow them to interact with Soldiers on a more intimate level and hopefully garner some personal relationships,” Singer said. “The idea was to achieve greater training value by inverting the traditional instructor to class model to an immersive experience where participants can learn from many Soldiers and their collective units.”

“These exercises were platoon level movement to contact drills in both day and night conditions,” Russ Adams, an ARDEC Small Arms Fire Control Engineer with Project Manager Solder Weapons said. “The attendance of this event allowed us to develop a greater understanding of the Soldiers’ operational environment and a unique measure of impact of the armaments we engineer and support,” said Adams. “It also provided an open forum for the Soldiers’ to provide feedback and suggestions pertaining to their armaments."

 “It was truly an incredible experience to be out in the field with the soldiers in full uniform observing how they planned, organized, and executed missions,” said Schan, a Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station Integration Engineer with Project Manager Soldier Weapons.

“We had the opportunity to witness platoons react to contact in both day and night conditions during their situational training exercises. We also had the opportunity to engage with a lot of the Soldiers both one–on-one and in large groups,” Schan said.
In their interaction with Soldiers, the Picatinny engineers discussed a broad range of armaments that included the weapons, ammunition, and fire control developed and managed by ARDEC.

In addition, there was information shared that went beyond just armament research and development efforts, programs, and products during the interactions with nine different audiences over the course of the training. “We were extremely well received and they were eager to hear about ARDEC’s many exciting projects going on at Picatinny,” Schan said. “Additionally, they were enthusiastic about the forum we provided them to have their voices heard when it came to their praises and critiques of the weapon systems they entrust their lives to.”

“I believe that the interactions Russ and I had with the Soldiers will be the basis for an ongoing relationship that will hopefully allow for other ARDEC employees to participate in similar opportunities in the future,” Schan added.

“Overall, this experience was by far the most valuable opportunity I’ve had as a young engineer. I learned a lot about Army structure and leadership and gained a better understanding of Soldiers’ needs in an operational environment. I believe that the experience has equipped me with a better understanding that will allow me to provide a better service to our warfighters through my work here at Picatinny.”