When Pfc. Corey Waterman enlisted in the Army as a 35T student, he didnâ€™t want anything to do with military intelligence, especially anything computer related. Waterman says he was not good with computers and didnâ€™t know anything about them or military intelligence. Yet on June 14, Waterman is set to graduate from the 35T Military Intelligence Systems Maintainer/Integrators Course on Fort Huachuca.
At a standstill in his life, Waterman and a friend decided to enlist in the Army. He scored highly on his Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a multiple-aptitude battery that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military.
As a result, he was given several options for Army careers, and the 35T field was something that would provide a lucrative civilian career if he chose to leave the military. In spite of his misgivings, he chose computer-related work in the military intelligence field.
Since 1992, the military occupational specialty 35T students have been training here. The course was relocated to Fort Huachuca in the early 90s from Fort Devens, Mass. as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission which recommended closing Fort Devens, explained George Stemler, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade chief learning officer.
Soldiers entering into the 35T MOS undergo a 42-week course to learn their job skills. 35T Soldiers are primarily responsible for maintaining and integrating intelligence-gathering systems, computers and networks used by military intelligence Soldiers. During their training, the Soldiers learn how to maintain, test and repair communications equipment.
â€œFor someone like me, who my way of fixing a computer was dropping a computer on the ground and hoping it gets fixed. They [Fort Huachuca MI instructors] teach you from the ground up how to fix a computer. You never know until you try it, I guess,â€ Waterman stated, adding that at Fort Huachuca, his mind was changed due to the intensive training provided by excellent instructors who thoroughly explained the process.
35T student, Pfc. Hannah Bizelbliss, says she, too, was not very good with computers before starting the 35T military intelligence systems maintainer/integrators course here. Bizelbliss says the instructors start with the basics and teach from the ground up.
â€œThen once you get to the end of the course it all comes together,â€ she added.
The 35T career field is important to the Army.
â€œThe 35T Soldier maintains complex computer-based and electronic military intelligence systems in support of signals intelligence, direction-finding and intelligence processing.
â€œMaintaining working equipment is vital to the mission of intelligence collectors and analysts. The 35T serves as the maintainer/integrator for military intelligence networks. This unique blend of hardware and software expertise makes the 35T vital to maintaining future military intelligence systems,â€ stated Sgt. Maj. John Latham, Maintenance Training Department, Company B, 305th MI Battalion, 111th MI Brigade, U. S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.
After graduating, 35T Soldiers are typically assigned to a brigade combat team based on the Armyâ€™s needs. They can also be assigned to aerial reconnaissance units. Military intelligence units rely on computer networks and electronic systems at a wide variety of locations, Latham explained.
For Waterman, he will head to Korea after graduation. He says at this point he is not sure if he will make the Army a career. But, he says he is glad he gave the 35T MOS a try because itâ€™s changed his opinion about computers and MI.
The Army is currently looking into restructuring the 35T course to allow new training without lengthening the course. Last year, the 35T course was reduced by more than two weeks, according to Latham, who added that some material was eliminated and other portions of the course implemented new training techniques in line with the Army Learning Model which resulted in better training in a shorter time period.
â€œAs the Army determines which systems will support future intelligence operations, it is likely that 35Ts will maintain and integrate these systems. Training on these systems will be added. However, the intelligence center is also looking to maximize resources by training as efficiently as possible,â€ Latham said.
â€œWe need to learn how things work first, before the technology of the future gets to advanced,â€ added National Guard 35T student, Pfc. Fern Johnson.