FORT HOOD, Texas - President John F. Kennedy once said that leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
At Fort Hood, the Phantom Warrior Academy's Combat Leaders Course increases professional development among troops.
CLC is a 10-day, two-phase training course focusing on Troop Leader Procedures and Battle Drills at the team, squad and platoon level in a field environment in order to create highly trained and tactically proficient junior leaders.
“CLC is a competence builder,” said Staff Sgt. Eddie J. Baker, an instructor with the Phantom Warrior Academy's Combat Leaders Course. “With all the battle drills we do, it's going to increase your level of awareness and build your competence as a leader.”
The course includes an obstacle course, movement techniques, battle drills, how to setup an objective rally point and patrol base, ambush, night and day land navigation, radio operations, first aid, advance rifle marksmanship, 11 different ways of knot tying, an 8-mile full combat load and weapon foot march, and more.
Baker said he has different expectations from students.
“Be proficient in all the skills and tasks we put out there. Take the leadership role that we give them, show what they learned, and retain as much knowledge as they can. The biggest thing I ask them to do is to ask questions. If they don't ask questions, I'm not going to know what they need improvement on.”
The course reinforces basic skill level one tasks and teaches some advances skills for Soldiers to take back to their organizations.
“We work on perishable skills. We give them tools, guidance and the confidence they need,” Baker said. “They can spread what they've learned here throughout their unit.”
Students endure these 10 intense days of combat training by working as a team to accomplish given tasks.
“I walked in here and I didn't know a single face”, said Spc. Andy Ford, a motor transport operator with 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
“In the past 10 days I've gotten real close to these guys. Teamwork is the key, period. With any leadership position you have is all about teamwork, and that's exactly what this course is showing us,” he added.
For Ford, the most challenging part was something he didn't expect.
“The day we went to the range, it wasn't the range itself that was difficult, it was walking to the range and back carrying close to 90 pounds including the IOTV (Improved Outer Tactical Vest). It might not been far, but walking there, doing exercises, shooting and walking back, that was the worst thing ever,” he said
Ford wanted to emphasize the amount of courage needed, the amount of will to push yourself to the end.
“To see everyone else, all your teammates, your battle buddies doing the same thing to get to the end, it's amazing,” he said.
According to Baker, during this course, junior leaders from the rank of specialist to captain do not wear any rank in their uniforms to show that everyone is equal when it comes to leadership position placement throughout the 10 days.
Students encourage other Soldiers to come and try something different and refresh those skills.
“It's good to get out of the office and lead a small team,” said 2nd Lt. Scott Silvester, assistant operations, 3rd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cav. Div. “I definitely recommend it because you get your basic soldiering tasks down.
“Just make sure you're physically prepared for this course and practice your knots,” Silvester added.
The class has 40 available seats, and Baker said it brings an opportunity for Soldiers to further their careers, since it is a prerequisite for a lot of schools, such as air assault, ranger, and pathfinder.
By U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Concepcion
Provided through DVIDS
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