Trainees Get Hands-On Soldiering Experience in Field Training Exercise

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Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, Soldiers run as their drill sergeant shouts ‘BOOM’ to mimic indirect fire during their first field training exercise. Photo by Ms. Noelle Wiehe, Fort Benning, Ga.

FORT BENNING, Ga. — Soldiers in the U.S. Army must train to fight in a complex world. Having learned physical training and gained confidence to become a Soldier, trainees learned to move, communicate and react as Soldiers, in their first field training exercise.

“Things that your drill sergeants say, they’re going to keep you alive one day,” said Capt. Shinwon Moon, company commander.

Basic combat training Soldiers of D Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, drug their faces in the mud at a station on individual movement techniques with Staff Sgt. Arthur Stevenson, drill sergeant, and dropped to the ground as Staff Sgt. Benjamin Eckhardt, drill sergeant, shouted ‘BOOM,’ to simulate combat scenarios at another.

Soldiers visited nine different stations in the field where a drill sergeant taught for about 45 minutes on things they’d need to know when they go into combat.

Within the nine stations Soldiers were taught how to:

  • Camouflage their exposed skin and equipment.
  • React to indirect fire.
  • Construct an individual hasty fighting position.
  • Move as a member of a team.
  • React to contact.
  • Individual movement techniques.
  • Challenge a person entering their area.
  • Visual signaling techniques.
  • Occupy a patrol base.

Under the new basic combat training program of instruction, Training and Doctrine Command experts said warrior and battle drills needed to be refreshed because of changes to unit missions and doctrine updates, as reported by C. Todd Lopez of the Army News Service.

The task of constructing an individual hasty fighting position was added while three other warrior tasks were dropped from the 15 that used to be taught. TRADOC experts said the dropped warrior tasks were repetitive and could be included in other similar tasks.

Moon said that the round-robin style taught the Soldiers something new at each station, but that all the stations build on one other.

“By the time they reach FTX 3, hopefully it becomes so ingrained that it is muscle memory,” Moon said.

His goal was that by that time when the Soldiers hear blank rounds being fired, they’d immediately get on the ground and shout out the three Ds – distance, direction and description of the enemy.

Most of the drill sergeants teaching the trainees have seen combat, and Moon wanted the trainees to learn from their experience.

“Take everything in like it is gold,” Moon advised. “It saved his life; it may one day save yours.” Spc. Chris Bartholomew said the most important thing he was learning through the stations at FTX 1 was communication.

“Being in a leadership position, there is a lot of responsibility,” he said. “Being able to communicate your commands, as well as follow those commands from other individuals, is critical to being successful in what you’re trying to accomplish.”

He said the training at each station was easy for him to grasp because the drill sergeants worked so hard to instill the importance of it all.

“It is a lot of information to try to take in, but (the drill sergeants) stress things they want us to really grasp,” Bartholomew said, noting that the information is starting to stick with him.

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