FORT KNOX, Ky. – First Regiment Cadet Initial Entry Training, Alpha Company, transitioned to their second day of squad tactics training in Poorman Area June 18.
As this is their second day of field tactics training, the Cadets will be engaging in more practical application of the drills and fundamentals they were taught the day before.
“Yesterday was a lot of note taking, just getting it first in your head. We practiced it a few times, but not as much as we would’ve liked,” said Cdt. Seth Hebert, University of Central Missouri from Cottleville, Missouri, “But today is a lot of practice. We were in the outside classroom for maybe about five minutes before we were getting hands-on experience which is good because it promotes muscle memory.”
Their second day of training consisted of eight lanes of fundamentals in: patrolling (2 lanes), direct/indirect contact, ambush lane, reconnaissance, and squad attack. Each lane is dedicated to enhancing their ability to collaborate while in the field.
“Patrolling is inherently a group activity, kind of like an ant colony, where it takes the whole group working together to thrive. It requires everybody giving everything they’ve got to everyone else,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Peterson, Tennessee Technological University, officer-in-charge (OIC) of team eagle.
As the Cadets practice the drills in each lane, the OIC plays a more observatory role in order to help them learn.
“I’m helping them out by reinforcing their critical thinking. By observing them, I can ask afterwards ‘What made you do this?’ and ‘Why’d you do that?’ in order to help them improve,” stated 2nd Lt. Isaac Rubio, overseer of the reconnaissance lane.
Cadets run through the drills in each lane about two to three times, making improvements before moving on to the next lane.
“This lane gave me good practice. Now I know who to assign jobs to, how to strategically move my unit from one place to another and who is best to communicate with,” said Cdt. Emma Adams, James Madison University, from Eldersburg, Maryland of her first lane, reconnaissance.
This was their first day applying these drills in forest terrain, adjusting to the environmental changes was a challenge.
“It’s hot, it’s humid, there are a lot of distractions. Because we practice squad formations in an open field, when you get out here, it’s very different. We get a more real life look at what it would be like on a mission,” Cdt. Hebert explained.
In addition to the environmental changes, the Cadets ran their drills under the pressures of enemy combatants, simulated gunfire and explosives. Communication became a necessary element in these conditions.
During their briefing after the drill, 2nd. Lt. Rubio critiqued the Cadets saying they “did not send enough reports” back to personnel during their mission, which is key in order for operations to know the status of the team.
“We need to be more clear, more concise in our leadership and communication. We just need to keep practicing and get better,” Hebert said.