Cohesion Under Stress

05/26/2020  |  Story and Photos by Lt. Col John L. Hewitt III Commander, 3D BN (CST), 414TH RGT, 1st Brigade, 104th Division (LT)
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On 7-8 September, A Company, 3rd Regiment, 414th Battalion CST (Cadet Summer Training), conducted a field leadership reaction course (FLRC) at Reserve Allen Center, Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), in efforts to energize creative and critical thinking, team building and camaraderie in a field setting, and to prepare for training year 2020’s CST mission at Fort Knox, Ky. 

This was exceptional training, especially since the Allen Reserve Center does not have an established FLRC course.

Traditionally, an FLRC is a training event where Soldiers negotiate various scenarios, ranging from prisoner of war (POW) escapes to river crossings, they may encounter on the modern battlefield. Each event is timed and possesses some variant of tactical, technical, and resource limitations that prevent easy or quick completion, all of which is done in a field environment. At the conclusion of each scenario, a small unit’s mental and physical capabilities, as well as its cohesion, are stressed to the maximum. Because of its demanding nature, FLRCs help Soldiers develop and enhance their leadership and decision-making skills; polish their ability to analyze; plan and execute missions; be assessed on their thinking and strategy; ultimately, all this helps build teams and facilitate camaraderie in the process.

Annually, the battalion supports the United States Army Accessions Command (USAAC), as FLRC committee augmenters during CST rotations. Since we lead these committees, our Soldiers must be more than just familiar with the lanes. They need to experience the rigor and challenge associated with each scenario. Training during battle assembly provides opportunities to increase our proficiency and competency. Each 3-414th Soldier will be able to navigate each scenario successfully at CST. This simply adds credibility to our trainers and our efforts.

During battle assembly, A Company Soldiers executed leadership and decision-making skills over 10 challenging lanes. Maj. Joshua Conroy, A Company Commander, developed the lanes, wrote the scenarios for each lane, and resourced the equipment, making some from scratch.

This training not only provided our Soldiers an opportunity to engage in physically and mentally challenging exercises, but they were able to work with other teammates from the company and were placed in leadership positions, in which they would not normally find themselves.

Excitement and energy on lanes were electric and palpable—it demonstrated our Soldier’s commitment to training. In my estimation, this was a battle assembly they will not soon forget.

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