By Staff Sgt. Benjamin
Crane, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
GREENVILLE, Ky. –
Soldiers with the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade took part in the Light
Leader Course at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center March 6-15.
Ranger instructors with the Warrior Training Center at Fort
Benning worked in conjunction with the 238th Regional Training Institute to conduct
a fast paced and challenging course that consisted of classroom training, situational
training exercise (STX) lanes, land navigation and close quarters marksmanship.
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“The selling point for this course is that all my
instructors are ranger qualified,” said 1st Sgt. Joshua Eaton, Alpha company
First Sergeant. “They are getting it straight from the horse’s mouth. Plus it’s
not just that they are tactically and technically proficient, it’s that they’re
certified to be Army instructors on small unit tactics and how to teach how to
be team leaders and squad leaders.”
The Soldiers have to take in a lot of information in a short
amount of time since there is a lot of information to get across in a very
short period. Something that could best be
described as drinking water out of a fire hose according to Eaton.
“The training has been good,” said Spc. Alec Van Alstine,
carpenter and masonry specialist with the 149th Engineer Vertical Construction
Company. “Especially working with the Rangers, there are things that I have
seen before, but here it’s a lot more detailed now.”
The information that gets dumped onto the LLC Soldiers
covers a wide variety of infantry tactics that are important to make efficient
“We teach them everything from react to contact, to squad
attack, break contact, all the way to how to conduct an ambush,” said Eaton. “We
have to do it in a classroom setting first and then we take them out and
conduct practical exercises and teach them as we walk through how to actually
execute every one of these drills. Then
the culminating event is the FTX portion of our training where it all comes
together and they’re able to conduct a whole combat patrol.”
“A lot of this stuff is probably over their heads, especially our E-1s and E-2s,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Braly, platoon sergeant, at Ranger Training Assessment Course (RTAC). “Here we’re taking more of a cadre-led role so they can see what right looks like.”
The instructors had to make sure every Soldier was on the
same page and spent time clearly stating the roles and responsibilities for
each student in their squad.
“We’ve opened up the course with assumptions of command,
roles, duties and responsibilities so everybody knows what is expected of each
and every position,” said Braly. “It is important that they know that because
at some point we are going to rotate them through leadership positions and it
exposes them to what they should be doing for their squads. At the heart of it
all, every Soldier is a rifleman first and we want to get that into their
Being a rifleman is a Soldier’s number one priority before
anything else no matter their Military Occupation Specialty (MOS). Getting this
high quality instruction gives the Soldiers a lot of useful tools to make them
better equipped to be effective to the fighting force.
The classroom training is important to help visualize the
methods but getting out to the field is where the Soldiers learn the most. They
get to put everything they have been taught and put it onto action.
“I’m a ‘hands-on’ kind of guy so classrooms aren’t my cup of
tea, but once I start getting into it, I liked the practical exercises that they
were doing,” said Van Alstine.
From the first day to about day four and five, the
instructors started seeing the Soldiers pick up on what is being taught.
“I think they are a bit overwhelmed,” said Eaton. “It is a
lot of information to take in at one time. But I think they are starting to
gather and retain it as fast as humanly possible, but you can start to see the
light bulbs go off in their heads as they are beginning to comprehend it,”
Despite the Soldiers not being infantry, the material
covered can be taken back and applied to every one of their units.
“You can take what we learned about operations orders, and
translate that into mission planning for building structures; my unit is gong
back to emphasizing the importance of infantry skills, the basic Soldiering
skills, so it’s starting to incorporate this more into our training so it
benefits everybody,” said Van Alstine.
Although the students won’t become Ranger qualified once
they leave the course, they certainly will get exposure to what it would be
like if they so chose to go that route in the future and can use it to better
themselves as a Soldier and person.
“Our training is primarily to build future team leaders, we
take them from knowing nothing about skill level one battle drills, and taking
them from that to being able to brief a squad leader operations order and
proficiently conduct a squad operation in the field,” said Eaton.