100 complete jungle training

| October 31, 2014 | 0 Comments
Soldier in the jungle

A Tropic Lightning warrior reacts to enemy contact during the 25th ID Lightning Academy’s jungle training, Oct. 23. JOTC trains Soldiers on how to conduct operations proficiently in a jungle environment. Approximately 100 soldiers attended the course.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal
Defense Media Activity-Hawaii News Bureau

 

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — As part of a 12-day course, a hundred Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division practiced skills necessary to perform operations in jungle terrain at the 25th ID Lightning Academy’s Jungle Operations Training Center (JOTC).

Students learned techniques designed to enhance tracking, patrolling, reacting to enemy contact and survival skills specific to jungle operations to prepare Soldiers for deployments throughout the Pacific.

“We send our JOTC instructors to foreign jungle schools with a number of our regional partners,” said Maj. Andrew Lyman, Lightning Academy commander.

“We’ve sent our instructors to Australia, Malaysia, Brunei, Okinawa and a number of other places, and what we’ve done is we’ve combined the best elements of those foreign courses into the course here,” he said. “Specifically for JOTC, the training is very regionally focused.”

Training in a jungle environment can challenge students, noted Sgt. 1st. Class Justin Holt, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, JOTC platoon sergeant and noncommissioned officer in charge.

“We teach them how to walk through the jungle, and, as easy as that may sound, some terrain is almost impassable,” Holt said. “With that thick vegetation, we have to communicate verbally a lot of times. You’re not going to be able to see a guy even if he is 3 feet in front of you, so you have to trust your leaders, get everybody on line and then execute the ‘react to contact’ safely.”

For some Soldiers, the transition from training and operating in a desert or urban environment to jungle terrain has proven different from what some students are used to.

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“It’s not flat ground; it’s up and downhill,” said Pfc. Chad Cartwright, 2nd Cavalry Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID. “You can end up seeing the enemy come from anywhere out here.

“We definitely focus a lot on patrolling and how you carry yourself while patrolling,” Cartwright continued. “You really have to keep eyes open, eyes peeled whenever you’re walking around here, because (the terrain) is thick and you have to maintain your situational awareness and focus on every detail.”

The 12-daylong Phase 1 course culminated with an exercise where all jungle skills learned were combined into one final scenario.

“By the end of this, they are not going to be experts. We are introducing a lot of new things to them. In the end, I would like these Soldiers to be more confident in the jungle,” Holt said. “As generic as that may sound and as broad as that may sound, I think that reintroducing them into this jungle environment is just going to make them that much more confident.

“It’s going to give them that motivation when they are out in that jungle, and they are getting rained on, night after night, with little to eat and little sleep,” Holt explained. “They’ll know they can continue on. They’ll know they can get the mission accomplished.”

Only Tropic Lightning units are currently able to attend the training, but JOTC leadership and instructors hope that their program can be refined and that units from the mainland will eventually be able to attend.

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Category: Defense Media Activity, Training

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