Under the “oak tree,” counseling has a tradition of being known in the Army from informal discussions and motivational talks.  Field Artillery Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, has found that under the “camo net,” meetings are a way for troopers to put people first and get to know each other.

Steel Squadron recently spent ten days in the field Oct. 19-28. Much of the troopers time in the field was during a cold weather front that moved into the Fort Hood area bringing below-average temperatures and rain. The weather didn’t stop Steel Squadron from training, and it provided some down time for discussions that lead to cohesive teams and getting to know one another on a deeper level.

“We are continuing with rifles action. It wasn’t just a one-time thing. We are continuing even while we are out here in the field,” Capt. Floyd Mercer, commander of Battery A, said. “We are talking to our troopers and getting to know them better. Even though we took those two weeks in garrison, there are still things we don’t know about each other.”

Mercer said that the field environment is a much better place to have informal discussions, because there are fewer distractions.

“They are more open and honest out there. What we are finding is it’s a much better environment to conduct informal counseling and discussions,” Mercer said. “We are getting much better feedback than we did in an office with cell phones, computers, and emails. All the distractions are gone, and it’s just us. It’s nice.”

Sgt. Christopher Febbraio is a cannon crewmember, gunner, and team leader with Btry. A. He has been with the regiment for three years and is seeing a difference.

“We are building trust and getting to know our troopers more,” he said. “Our leaders are very involved. They are listening, taking our word, and implementing things that we need.”

Teamwork and trust are vital when it comes to being part of an M777 Howitzer team.

“We don’t get rounds off unless we shoot together. We can’t shoot this gun with one person. We need seven guys to shoot one round, and that takes teamwork,” Febbraio said. “We have to know everybody’s strengths and weaknesses to get them into the right jobs and know what they need help with.”

Spc. Anthony Grisby is a cannon crewmember, and serves as the team’s ammo chief. He said the team spends a lot of time joking and having fun in the field.

“Everyone seems to be making an effort to get to know their troopers better and learning about their families and what they like to do,” he said. “We have just been talking about regular life and taking time to get to know each other.”

Discussions under the camo net have led to a greater understanding of each other’s capabilities.

“It’s more than just talking and getting to know each other. We are taking more time for each other now, and I’m learning that there are some things that I thought everyone knew before, and they don’t,” Sgt. Vincent Revilla, a fire control specialist with Btry. B, said. “So I’m also taking time to teach and train on a lot of things that they don’t know. We take for granted that people may know more than they do.”