FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets of 7th Regiment Basic Camp, Alpha Company, engaged in various simulated battles as part of the Squad Operation Tactics Training at Woodland Training Area 5, Aug. 3.
For Squad Operation Tactics, the Cadets of 1st Platoon had been split up into different squads to conduct various tactical lanes at the squad level. Each squad rotated through three different lanes and was assigned as opposition forces or South Atropian People’s Army element. Opposition squads complete ambush, reconnaissance, and react to contact missions.
“That’s on you to dictate how we are going to do this – are we going to box, or we going to clover leaf? Are we going to zigzag? What are we going to do? What are your left and right limits? How far to the left, to the east, to the west, north, and the south are we going to move? You establish those parameters. Everything falls back on you because you the patrol leader,” Sgt. 1st Class Gilbert Brush, Non-commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the training, explained about the different squad maneuver techniques.
The Cadets were given the opposition mission orders. Then the squad leader had to come up with a plan for the squad and had to decide on how they are going to conduct the recon. They were also given a “no later than” time and the time they are supposed to complete the mission.
“So they will head off and patrol toward the village where they will conduct their recon. They will take notes and sketches of the village. They will consolidate all that and they will move back to the assemble area where we will grab all the information and compare it to whatever they were supposed to get and see if they complete the mission or not,” Staff Sgt. Joshua Cruz from Fort Lewis, Wash., said.
The Cadets were able to learn about leadership through Squad Operation Tactics Training. They were able to learn how to function as a member of a team and start to think tactically.
The majority of the Cadets soon realized the hardship and difficulties of leading and operating a whole operation as they experienced fatigue and lack of sleep out in the field.
“The most difficult part would probably be staying focused and keeping on task – staying motivated during each of the squad tactics,” Cdt. Abigail Dicredico, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, said. “If you are fatigued and tired, you have all these other orbital things in your mind that you are going to start forgetting all the stuff that need to happened.”
The Cadets were able to push forward with the motivation and help from their trusted mentors as they continue to develop their skills.
“The one thing I want to be better at is land navigation, the ability to use a map and a compass to find a way though the woods. It is not as easy as a lot of people made it look,” Cdt. Lucas Chester, Texas A&M, shared.
However, for some Cadets, the most difficult part of the training is being away from their family and loved ones.
“For people who have been missing home, just get over it. The more you think about it, the longer it is going to feel being here. If you just think about the tasks on hands and take one day at a time, it is going to go by much faster,” Chester said.
Regardless the difficulties, the Cadets were able to conduct their missions and be one step closer to becoming a future army officer.