3rd Brigade Combat Team conducts jungle ops

| February 14, 2014 | 0 Comments
Photo by Sgt. Sean Freiberg; 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment; 3rd Brigade Combat Team; 25th Inf. Division Warriors from  Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, 25th ID, use a poncho raft to tactically maneuver down a river during the first phase of jungle training.

Photos by Sgt. Sean Freiberg; 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment; 3rd Brigade Combat Team; 25th Inf. Division
Warriors from Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, 25th ID, use a poncho raft to tactically maneuver down a river during the first phase of jungle training.

Capt. Grant Stone
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment
3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A Soldier loops his boots through the shoulder straps of his rucksack before pulling himself across the muddy water of a stream using a one-rope bridge.

As part of the inaugural rotation, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is conducting waterborne operations training during a Jungle Operations Training Course (JOTC).

Following the closure of Fort Sherman, Panama, in 1999, and multiple deployments to the Middle East in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the tactics, techniques and procedures used in jungle warfare have been largely lost.

The course is the result of a 25th ID initiative that’s been a long time in the making. JOTC is designed to rebuild those skills and prepare Soldiers to operate in the difficult environmental conditions of the Pacific Command area of responsibility.

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Though the Army has long recognized the need to reinvigorate a jungle training program, it took the detailed planning and hard work of multiple units, as well as individuals from across the division, that have made JOTC a reality.

Division leaders attended foreign jungle training schools to become experts in jungle operations and now form the core of the Lightning Leader Academy’s Jungle Instructor Cadre.

To develop the course concept, division leaders looked to 2-27th Inf. Regt. Through the summer and fall of 2013, 2-27th Inf. Regt. designed and validated the structure of the course into its current form.

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Apache Co. Soldiers executed the jungle skills phase of the course, where they learned how to efficiently waterproof their equipment to withstand the constant exposure to water and moisture inherent in jungle operations.

“I think the training for the Soldiers was a real eye opener, a different aspect of training they haven’t experienced before,” said Sgt. 1st Class Scott Bessette, platoon sergeant, Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt.

Jungle skills training included rope-assisted movement techniques to facilitate patrolling in rugged terrain, field expedient communication methods, jungle specific medical techniques and patrolling tactics.A1_3BCT_Jungle Ops_003

The second phase of the training is a multiple-day, live-fire training exercise. It was then the Soldiers needed to remember what they’d learned in phase one and apply it to their current situation.

“The biggest thing I have taken away from this training is tactical patience,” said 1st Lt. David Junta, platoon leader, Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt. “Not being able to see long distances in front of us due to the terrain, it forces us to be more patient.”

Once the company had finished with the live-fire portion of the training, it headed out to East Range where it conducted tactical exercises, such as patrols and reconnaissance missions to ready itself for the final part of the course.

For each rifle company, the course culminated with a seven-day battalion operation that put everything it learned to the test. The companies moved through the rugged terrain of the training areas in pursuit of the independent opposing forces element.

Encompassing more than individual Soldier skills, JOTC can train an entire battalion in combined jungle operations by integrating an attached field artillery battery, cavalry troop, sapper platoon and supporting aviation assets in a series of field training and live-fire exercises.

“The new JOTC program … is an excellent building block for our Soldiers to become highly proficient in the art of jungle warfare,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ron Bly, senior enlisted leader, 2-35th Inf. Regt.

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Category: News, Sustainability, Training

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