For their April 2018 Battle Assembly, 2-319th Cadet Summer Training Battalion, out of Salem, VA, conducted an FTX weekend. The FTX was conducted from 6-8 April at Fort Pickett, VA where 140 motivated individuals honed their warrior skills.
The unit took advantage of the long weekend to conduct an abundance of training including mission related training, leader development tasks, and team building activities. The key events of the weekend were weapons qualification, preparatory training for the Battalion’s annual mission to support Cadet Summer Training, out brief of a Command Climate survey, and the weekend was closed out with the Timberwolf Games.
Weapons qualification was performed Friday afternoon using paper targets. Although pop up targets are generally preferred, use of the paper target range did confer a certain benefit to the unit which allowed it to execute all of the key tasks planned in the 3 day weekend. Because M16 zeroing, M16 qualification and M9 qualification could all be completed at the same 25 meter range, all qualification was completed by dusk Friday evening leaving the remainder of the weekend to be used for other scheduled activities. The Nightfighters were able to qualify over 115 Soldiers on the M-16 and M-9 weapons system.
The mission of 2-319th Cadet Summer Training Battalion is to provide annual support to Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, KY. For 2018, the Battalion has been tasked again to perform Land Navigation training. The unit took the opportunity, with both Companies present, for the assigned training teams to come together and initiate the working relationships they will further develop out in the field this summer. The experienced instructors took full advantage of the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the training material, and to pass on their knowledge to instructors new to the Battalion who will, in many cases, instruct Land Navigation for the first time this summer.
The weekend included classroom training with the Battalion Commander’s vision briefing, an out brief of the command climate survey, NCO evaluation proficiency training, a quarterly safety class and an officer professional development class. The commander’s vision and the out brief of the command climate survey were conducted by the Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Dye. Topics from the command climate survey included equal opportunity, esprit de corps within the unit and trust in leadership. During the commander’s vision brief, Dye touched on individual readiness, potential threats to our nation, and how our contribution fits into the national defense strategy. “The Command Climate Survey out brief is a crucial step in leadership because it lets the Soldiers know that the leaders have heard their concerns and will take action to resolve them.” said Dye.
NCOER proficiency training was led by the Battalion S1, Sgt. 1st Class Marshall, targeting an audience of raters, senior raters and reviewers. The objective of the training was to ensure NCO’s are evaluated fairly, all aspects of their performance are considered, and that completed NCOER’s are not returned for corrections. Areas of emphasis encompassed status codes meanings, navigation, and narrative types.
The weekend was full of challenges but it was also filled with some friendly competition between Alpha and Bravo companies. The Timberwolf Games were brought back for this FTX with Alpha Company as the reigning champs. The Timberwolf Games are competitions based on Soldier common tasks and military skills. “The Games are a terrific team building opportunity that allows the Soldiers to build camaraderie by showcasing their skills and talents,” said Maj. Jake Wilson, Bn. executive officer.
The competition this year included weapons disassembly and assembly, land navigation practical exercise and ammo can carry. Despite the cold wintry weather the competition was hot. This year the field increased by one with the entry of the Battalion Staff as a competitor. Heavy banter filled the air as the team members reached the table to start the weapons disassembly and assembly. All started as one but Bravo Company dominated as the team flew past Alpha and the BN. Next was the land navigation which was guessing a known distance. Again, Bravo Company led the way. The final task was the ammo can relay. Bravo Company swept the field and left the others in the dust. Although winning was for bragging rights only, all teams are looking forward to next year’s event.