Mission CST Land Navigation

11/21/2018  |  By SGT Felicia Stokes Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th
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The 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division Cadre is briefed before the Cadets arrive on training site. Photo by SGT Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative

 

Tucked away in Fort Lee and Salem, Virginia, is an Army Reserve instructor training unit vital to the success of Cadet Command during Cadet Summer Training (CST) Basic Course Training (BCT).

The 1st Brigade, 2/319th Regiment, 104th Training Division, is an essential part of the training course and requires their instructors to well trained before they step onto the lanes to challenge the Cadets.

SFC Wadell Lucas of Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Leads the pace count orientation station, where cadets determine individual pace count.

Photo by SGT Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative

The three-dimension land navigation sand table is a replica of the courses 45 land navigation point lanes.

Photo by SFC Waddell Lucas, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division

SSG Richard Heinzman of Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, instructs Cadets on how to accurately use a compass and confirm the correct working components of the compass.

Photo by SGT Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative

SPC Patricia Querubin, of Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division crossing a stream on a log while pursuing a checkpoint marker during FTX Pre-CST training at Fort Pickett Army National Guard installation, Blackstone, Virginia.

Photo by SGT Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative

Eureka!!! SFC Andrew Lewis of Bravo Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Found checkpoint marker during FTX Pre-CST training at Fort Pickett Army National Guard installation, Blackstone, Virginia.

Photo by SGT Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative

1SGT Dodson, MSG Vern, and a SGT of Bravo Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Pre-CST plotting point before venturing into the woods to find their checkpoints during FTX Pre-CST training at Fort Pickett Army National Guard installation, Blackstone, Virginia.

Photo by SGT Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative

“We were the first rotation to give land navigation instruction to the Basic Camp Cadets so it was very important for us to build the initial footprint for the other CST rotations to follow,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Terrence Wesson, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division.

Wesson, who served as non-commissioned officer in charge of the second rotation was understandably proud of the job his Soldiers accomplished.

“Our Instructors displayed professionalism and resiliency in overcoming a few initial training obstacles but overall they accomplished the mission. I was very pleased with the job the 2nd CST Rotation did at Ft. Knox,” he enthused.

With instructors needing to be proficient in land navigation before challenging the Cadets to brave the lanes, the officers in charge (OIC) and non-commissioned officers in charge (NCOIC) of the course initiate planning and preparation for instructors to participate several months before summer training begins. Drills include intense classroom learning and vigorous day and night land navigation field exercises equivalent training the Cadets will experience.

Land navigation training is the primary focus of every Battle Assembly until the execution of the mission. Cadre and the land navigation course are validated prior to training the Cadets. It is mandatory that all cadre are acquainted with the course and completes the same requirements as the Cadets before they are trained.

As if the requirements for prepping for the lanes weren’t enough, the instructors must also obtain training and certifications in Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention awareness, Fraternization and Hazing, Lightning Prevention, Heat Injury Prevention, vehicle licensing, and 15-Passenger Van Safety.

It’s late May when support instructors arrive on site at Fort Knox, Kentucky to organize the structure of the lanes on the ground. Everything that has been planned meticulously from a distance must now be created on site prior to the arrival of the Cadets.

On May 29, the first of four highly trained and qualified instructor rotations begin their annual training by designing and building the character to create the scene. They begin transforming the desolate location into a BCT land navigation site. This first rotation is responsible for creating the three dimension land navigation sand table, coordinating the lanes and checkpoints as well as initiating the flow of operation.

When the second rotation arrives on June 11, there is a small overlap in the schedule, allowing  for a “left seat, right seat” transfer of authority. The second rotation observes the operation while conducting a walk-through of the proposed flow. Each subsequent rotation repeats the left seat, right seat as the incoming rotation observes the outgoing rotation while they conduct the operation allowing a level transition into the ongoing maneuvers.

On June 15, the Cadre welcome the first group of Cadets from 1st Regiment BCT to the Land navigation course, CST Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Rain or shine, the instructors will train over 2,000 Cadets. The mission to train and demonstrate teamwork, instill confidence, proficiency, and success through the challenge of dismounted land navigation is accomplished in the span of six training stations.

Cadets begin at the overview and briefing station, where they learn not only the fundamentals of terrain features and point plotting, but also the importance of safety and teamwork. They move on through realistic sand tables and poster sized maps, diverse terrain surface review, pace count coaching, compass fundamentals and practice lanes. The Cadets finish at the grading tent where they are assigned a battle buddy and checked on and off the course, ensuring proper accountability at all times.

While the Cadets are fully immersed in instruction, additional support staff are working hard on the operations side.

The Tactical Operation Center (TOC) is established, Medical Center and cooling tent are set up with immersion cooling equipment, and seven manned checkpoints are positioned throughout the course to assist Cadets needing guidance, and also providing for additional safety on the range.

After precise instructions at each station, instructors release the cadet battle buddy teams to the lanes to demonstrate their ability to perform basic land navigation skills. Cadets must correctly locate three of four points within four hours on the day course, and two of three points within three hours on the night course.

The instructors on the course are overseen by Capt. Javier A. de la Torre, an Army ROTC Assistant Professor of Military Science at California State University - San Marcos, and Sgt. 1st Class Adam Westcott, an Army ROTC Military Science Instructor at Texas State University.  During their time at Ft. Knox the 2/319th team worked alongside Torre, Westcott and Task Force Blackjack, a FORSCOM Support from 1st Cavalry Division, Ft. Hood, Texas.

As a combined effort, the Army Reserve and active Army trained over 2,000 ROTC Cadets, successfully and safely ensuring that eight regiments of Cadets were proficient in Land Navigation.

“The great success of Cadet Summer Training would not have been possible without the Active Duty - Reserve team,” said de la Torre.  “All Basic Camp Cadets - future Army leaders - came out of land navigation training having learned important skills that they will take with them throughout their careers. This is due in very large part to the outstanding 2/319th ADVON, instructors, and graders.” 

 

Staff Sgt. Alex Snow of Bravo Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, conducts an overview and briefing, on the importance of safety, teamwork, and the fundamentals of land navigation. Photo by SGT Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative
It’s 2:45 a.m. and the Cadet regiment has parted the course. Instructors often work over 20-hour shifts in the course of training Cadet Regiments. Cadre will return at 0:700. Photo by Sgt Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co.2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative

 

SSG Richard Heinzman of Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, instructs Cadets on how to accurately use a compass and confirm the correct working components of the compass.
2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division 2nd rotation CPT Silas Tanui OIC and SFC Terrence Wesson NCOIC, CPT Javier A. de la Torre, Basic Camp Land Navigation Course OIC, and brief Cadet Command, Brief LTC Kilgore. The Land Navigation Committee Chief, during course validation. Photo by SGT Felicia Stokes, Alpha Co. 2/319th, 1st BDE, 104th Training Division, Unit Public Affairs Representative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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