Wolfhounds prepare platoon, team leaders for combat in a jungle environment

| June 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii Ñ Wolfhounds begin their assault on the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility. This force-on-force combat exercise was the culminating event of 1-27 Infantry Battalion's Platoon Leader and Team Leader Course, during which Team Leaders acted as OPFOR against an entrenched force of Platoon Leaders, Friday (June 2, 2017) (Photo by Sgt. Joshua Andrews, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

KAHUKU TRAINING AREA — Wolfhounds begin their assault on the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility. This force-on-force combat exercise was the culminating event of 1-27 Infantry Battalion’s Platoon Leader and Team Leader Course, during which Team Leaders acted as OPFOR against an entrenched force of Platoon Leaders, June 2, 2017. (Photo by Sgt. Joshua Andrews, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

2nd Lt. Jonathan Hansing
1st Battalion, 27th Infantry
2nd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

KAHUKU TRAINING AREA — A common refrain in the Army states, “Never order a Soldier to do something you cannot do yourself.”

This is the ideology that brought Wolfhound leaders to the depths of the Kahukus, struggling to haul ammo crates, .50 caliber M2A1 machine guns and vehicles across rugged and unforgiving terrain as part of 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry’s Platoon and Team Leader Course.

The course started with tough combat-focused physical training executed by both platoon and team leaders. In full combat kit, the leaders conducted low crawls, casualty carries, ammo can shuttles, agility drills and the despised “burpee.”

KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — 1st Lt. Zachary Creutzinger (center) briefs his platoon leader 2nd Lt. Caleb Fluker (left) on his plan for the defense of the CACTF. 2nd Lt. Ryan Hensel (top) and 2nd Lt. Ben Stubbs (right) are also involved in the planning process, Thursday (June 1, 2017).

KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — 1st Lt. Zachary Creutzinger (center) briefs his platoon leader 2nd Lt. Caleb Fluker (left) on his plan for the defense of the CACTF. 2nd Lt. Ryan Hensel (top) and 2nd Lt. Ben Stubbs (right) are also involved in the planning process, Thursday (June 1, 2017).

“This leader training was physically and mentally challenging in order to build the best noncommissioned officers and officers in this organization,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Benavides of 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

The platoon and team leaders separated for specific instructional periods with the lieutenants transitioning into equipment layouts, pre-combat inspections and skills classes before they conducted an air assault movement to the Kahuku Training Area. They executed night land navigation to establish their patrol bases and prepare for follow-on operations.

KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii— A Wolfhound team leader provides security for his platoon as they prepare for the final assault. Friday (June 2, 2017).

KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii— A Wolfhound team leader provides security for his platoon as they prepare for the final assault. Friday (June 2, 2017).

The next morning began the “Star Course,” a series of lanes with various training events and obstacles spread out over approximately 4 square kilometers. Trainers at each point led the platoon leaders through casualty operations and medical evacuation procedures, reconnaissance, offensive operations, direct and indirect fire support, engagement area development, vehicle maintenance and leader professional development.

“Tactical knowledge and teamwork are critical for young officers because they help us understand our strengths and weaknesses, which was instrumental to success in the course,” said 2nd Lt. Jose Pena of Hellbound Company, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt.

Meanwhile, team leaders conducted separate training focused on deliberate defense and patrolling. Their instruction consisted of tactical communication, indirect fire support, troop leading procedures and operational threats in the Pacific. They were expected to establish and maintain patrol bases that could effectively resist probing attacks from opposing force, or OPFOR elements, all while rotating leadership positions and taking mock casualties.

“As a team leader, you always know that you need to hold high standards for yourself and your men, but the Team Leader Course really drove home that these things are what truly make you lethal in combat,” explained Spc. Jayson McDonald of 1st Platoon, Borzoi Co., 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — 1st Lt. Anthony Presnell hauls water cans as part of the combat-focused physical training that kicked off the course, Tuesday (May 30, 2017).

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — 1st Lt. Anthony Presnell hauls water cans as part of the combat-focused physical training that kicked off the course, Tuesday (May 30, 2017).

The week culminated with a force-on-force combat exercise employing “simmunitions,” a non-lethal ammunition that adds the realism of live fire to the training. This mock battle challenged the tactical knowledge and physical ability of the Wolfhound leaders.

2nd Lt. Caleb Fluker was selected to lead the Lieutenants through the final day with the following mission: Defend the building complex at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility from an overwhelming enemy force. The Platoon Leaders received 14 hours to prepare their defense, which they used creating obstacles and establishing fighting positions.

At 1023 hours the next morning, 1st Lieutenants Nick Ireland and Tony Presnell led the team leaders in a multi-platoon assault on the entrenched officers. Receiving small arms fire from the south and west, the platoon leaders soon found themselves surrounded. They fought hard and took many casualties, eventually retreating to the bunker at the center of the training facility.

At 1102, the last lieutenant fell to enemy fire, and the team leaders declared victory over their fellow Wolfhounds.

The week ended with a well-deserved grill-out back at the company kennels. The battalion welcomed its returning leaders with hot dogs, hamburgers and some rifle cleaning.

“This course was designed to train and evaluate leaders in decisive action skills associated with a jungle environment,” said Lt. Col. Valent Bernat, commander, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt. “But more importantly, it was an opportunity to build trust and cohesion across all our Wolfhound leaders that will pay dividends no matter where we are called to serve.”

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Category: News, Training

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