JOTC graduates first jungle expert class since 1999

| April 4, 2014 | 23 Comments


Story and photos by Sgt. Brian C. Erickson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Tropic Lightning warriors added the Jungle Expert tab to their uniforms after graduating the new Jungle Operations Training Course, here, March 26.

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 25th Infantry Regiment, and 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, began the course by executing the jungle skills phase of the course.

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, Alpha Company, 2-35th Inf. Regt.

Training included rope-assisted movement techniques; field-expedient communication methods; jungle-specific medical training and patrolling tactics; and a multiple-day, live-fire training exercise.

“The biggest thing I have taken away from this training is tactical patience,” said 1st Lt. David C. Junta, platoon leader, Alpha Co., 2-35th Inf. Regt.

The course came to a close with a seven-day, battalion-sized operation that put everything the Soldiers had been taught to the test.

“I truly believe the new JOTC program and its scope of training 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.

Col. Brian Eifler (right), commander, 3rd BCT, 25th ID, places the Jungle Expert tab on the uniform of Lt. Col. James Bartholomees, commander, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, 25th ID, during a graduation ceremony, March 26, to recognize he has completed the 21-day Jungle Operations Training Course.

Col. Brian Eifler (right), commander, 3rd BCT, 25th ID, places the Jungle Expert tab on the uniform of Lt. Col. James Bartholomees, commander, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, 25th ID, during a graduation ceremony, March 26, to recognize he has completed the 21-day Jungle Operations Training Course.

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Category: News, Training

Comments (23)

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  1. Does this mean that soldiers that may stil be in the army can wear the tab if they attended the jungle expert school at FT Sherman.

    • haw says:

      Good question. When in doubt, ask command sergeants major. We’re running this past some very senior NCOs and should have clarity soon. Generally, wear of the Jungle Expert tab is by approval of local commanders. Unless informed otherwise, the tab (local JOTC or Panama) should be approved for wear while serving with the 25th ID.

    • Doc Savage says:

      SSG, that’s a NO. Unless assigned to the 25th ID. Once you PCS, it becomes but a souvenir.

    • johnny B says:

      dont waste your time

  2. LebbenB says:

    A minor quibble with the story. The JOTC in Panama never awarded a Jungle Expert Tab, which is implied in the title. Prior to 1984, a Jungle Expert BADGE was authorized for local wear for individuals and units that had successfully completed a JOTC rotation. The badge was circular, about 2 inches in diameter, blue field with an image of a sailing ship in white. Over the top was an integrated blue scroll with “Jungle Expert” written in white.

    Congrats to 3d Brigade!


    • Vidal Garza says:

      You are correct, also, Take a look at the current US Army South patch, same boat on this patch as the boat on the Jungle expert patch worn only while with the 193rd Infantry Brigade, later to become US Army South. The boat signified the galleons used by the pirates of the 14th Century., often landing in Panama.

      I graduated from the JOTC course in Panama in 1978.

      • Dean says:

        I took the course in 1977 with the 82nd airborne and was always curious if the boat has a name or what thanks for any info you can give me

  3. sgt johnson says:

    question what are the requirements for jungle school

  4. Robert L. Battle says:

    I graduated from Fort Sherman,(JOTC) Panama with the 82ND ABN. Div. in September 1976. There was a blue circular tab for your dress uniform, and a similiar green tab for your solid OD green uniform now (ACU). The ship on that patch happened to be the Mayflower and that patch eventually became a unit patch which I think is still in existence. Out of curiousity are we allowed to wear the new tab? Still proudly serving 38 1/2 Yrs.
    And by the way thank you for that question SSG Bazemore.

    • reinaldo pagan says:

      The ship is a spanish galeon.the patch is the original caribbean defense command later redesignated us army south.

  5. Sgt Byron P. Strandhagen says:

    Why not? I went to Jungle school in 1982 and still in the Virginia naional guard. If we cannt wear he tab, then if your not in a ranger Battalion or a Sapper unit they should not beable to wear those tabs either. and how hard could Jungle school be in Hawwaii realy!

  6. johnny B says:

    Everyone, is now after the tab…lol Waste of time if its only for 25th ID…tHE GOOD IDEA FAIRY LANDED… Boom!!

  7. Corwyn G. says:

    I did the training twice while station with 2/14 out of Fort Drum in a rotation to Panama in 95 and with 252 Sig. While station in Panama in 97 that has to count for more than just a I love me book.

  8. I talked to a Puerto Rican guy from Task Force who says he was the Honor Graduate from his JOTC class in 1988 and that over one thousand volunteers started and at least half quit the first day because they couldn’t hang on the confidence course called the “Green Hell.” He said that 20 or 30 guys from snake bite during the first week…that ” de Bushmaster and Fer D Lance are bad Jakes en la hungla” he said. He said by the end of the three weeks they were down to about 93 guys left standing and that they were mostly white boys he called “Blanquitos mas Locos” and that he was so hard core that when he was announced as honor graduate he was known as Diablo loco. He said he’ll kill anyone who makes fun of his Jungle Expert tab.

    • J Frost says:

      The 10th MTN had a Commando tab that was/is Commander authorized, and now 25ID has a Jungle Expert tab. These are “locally authorized” heraldry. This is no different than wearing a Ranger tab on your patrol cap (after completing Ranger School) if you are in a RANGER BATTALION. This is allowed under the Unit Commanders authority within the Unit. If you leave the 75th Ranger Regiment to go worldwide in the Big Army, you can no longer wear the tab on your patrol cap (only on your left sleeve). As for the old Panama JOTC patch, I was still wearing the Jungle Expert badge on the pocket of my BDU’s in 1986, and in 12 years only had ONE SGM tell me it was unauthorized LOL.

    • Vidal Garza says:

      Man, this Puerto Rican guy for sure handed you a great war BS story,

      I was stationed in Panama, 1976-79, spent lots of time in the Jungla, and never once saw a snake, lots of monkeys, but no snakes., later on, i went back to Panama 1986-89, went through the Aircrew Survival Jungle course, again, no snakes, lots of monkeys, even had one for dinner in the jungle,

  9. H Hutton says:

    I was with 10th Mountain (Triple Deuce), we were the last rotation from Drum to go through JOTC in 1999 before 82nd came in and shut er’ down. We were never awarded the Jungle Expert patch and we were trained by SF cadre. Not sure how the Army became an “Army of 2” instead of “1”, but doesn’t make since why the rest of the Army can’t wear the tab. Then again the Army is becoming the new Boys Scouts of America. Everyone has to have badges or tabs (Jungle Expert, Mountain Warfare ram head, CAB, Sapper, etc). We also trained cadets at West Point. Before the cadets went through the Commando course, which is basically Jungle Expert minus the jungle and green hell. We were told that the Commando patch was only for the cadets and we better never be seen wearing the tab. So 10th mountain and the Commando tab isn’t true. Then again I left Drum in 2001, so who knows.

  10. William Kimbrough says:

    I attended the Jungle Warfare Training Course, Panama Canal Zone, in 1961, graduated and was awarded the Jungle Expert Patch. I wore the patch on my uniforms until retirement from the Army in 1979. The only time I didn’t wear it was during my WORWAC Flight Training Program in 1962/63.

  11. Parker Dubee says:

    May I ask if this school is still available? I am a junior Medical Service Corps Officer and I am looking to become a Physician Assistant (65D) and I believe this training would give me a first-hand experience of the grueling physical injuries and diseases that come from humid and wet battle environments teeming with life both venomous and microbial. I am also a scientist with the Army and having environmental training could prepare me if I am needed to do field work. Thank you.

    • haw says:

      Hello, Parker — I’m sure the school is still available. Call the 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office at (808) 655-6343. Ask for the G3 Training or the number to the school. HAW Staff.

  12. Jeff says:

    A was there in February 1981 with the 1\508 82nd airborne. I can’t recall any of us wearing the tab back at ft. Bragg

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