Kolchak Pursuit pushes lieutenants to their limits

| June 7, 2013 | 0 Comments
Lieutenants ruck out to East Range to conduct reconnaissance patrols on the first night of Kochak Pursuit, May 21. (Photo courtesy 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

Lieutenants ruck out to East Range to conduct reconnaissance patrols on the first night of Kochak Pursuit, May 21. (Photo courtesy 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

2nd Lt. Hannah Smith
1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment,
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team,
25th Infantry Division

“Is there any information I left out that you need to complete your mission tonight?” asked 2nd Lt. Jared Roy, platoon leader, “Coldsteel” Company, kneeling beside three acting squad leaders from 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, “Wolfhounds,” 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, during a night reconnaissance mission, here.

“We’re ready to complete the mission,” replied 1st Lt. Tom Dunn, 2nd Platoon leader, Co. A, as he looked on to his squad of lieutenants in camouflage blending into the terrain of East Range.

The squad was ready with night optics, weapons and loaded rucksacks.

The Wolfhound lieutenants participated in exercise Kolchak Pursuit, May 21-23, a grueling three-day challenge intended to push the officers to their limits before requiring them to work cohesively as a team, despite their tired and aggravated state.

“In a very short period of time, we had the goal to push the lieutenants through both the forming and storming phases of Bruce Tuckman’s stages of group development, by wearing them out through a reconnaissance patrol all night without sleep and then having them tackle the confidence obstacle course, the leaders reaction course and the apparatus event,” said Capt. Brandon Corbin, commander, Co. A.

Tuckman’s stages of group development apply when group members make safe decisions while getting to know one another due to a desire to be accepted (forming) and when different opinions compete for consideration and the team members act more independently than cohesively (storming).

Once through those initial stages, the group develops norms for operating together, and then performs and accomplishes missions successfully and efficiently.

While not all groups reach the performing stage, the activities of Kolchak Pursuit pushed lieutenants up to the norming stage in a group most officers were unfamiliar with.

“It was an interesting experience, because all the lieutenants were broken into teams led by a company commander who was not their own, and with platoon leaders and staff officers who they typically did not work with,” said 2nd Lt. Dave Forrester, assistant operations officer.

The junior officers learned much about themselves by pushing physically and mentally through a 48-hour period of constant activity without sleep, receiving mentoring from different company commanders, and a different perspective on leadership from platoon leaders and staff officers from different companies in their squad.

“When we went to Bellows Air Force Beach on the last day, our squad sat down with our company commander for the mission, and we talked about leadership challenges we respectively face. I was able to hear what the other platoons and companies thought when I brought up the concern of motivating NCOs to do more once they have already been successful,” said 1st Lt. Tim Clark, 2nd Platoon leader, Borzoi Co.

While the Wolfhounds currently foster an environment of communication and sharing among the platoon leaders and all officers, the formal setting of Kolchak Pursuit allowed lieutenants to get feedback from multiple people, and from someone they may not have talked to before.

Kolchak Pursuit culminated in a hike to the Makapuu Lighthouse in Waimanalo.

As the sun rose, Lt. Col. Chuck Bergman, commander, 1st Bn., said, “You are all senior leaders of the Wolfhounds. The past few rigorous days have pushed you to learn about yourself and to trust the teammates all around you.

“We are a stronger organization for it,” Bergman conintued, “and I applaud your dedication and desire to be the best leaders.”

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Category: News, Training

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