EAST RANGE TRAINING CENTER, Hawaii - One hundred U.S. Army
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) as part of a
Phase 1 12-day-long course.
Students were able to learn
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 Area of
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Donley, 25th Infantry Division
Lightning Academy Jungle Operations Training Center (JOTC)
instructor, speaks with soldiers on their performance during counter
improvised explosive device (IED) training as part of the 25th ID
Lightning Academy's Jungle Operations Training Center (JOTC) Phase
1, 12-day-long course Oct. 22, 2014, at the East Range Training
Center, Hawaii. The JOTC trains soldiers on how to conduct
operations in a jungle environment proficiently. Approximately 100
soldiers attended the course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt.
U.S. Army Maj. Andrew Lyman, 25th ID Lightning Academy
commander, explained how JOTC instructors enhance the
quality of training provided.
"We send our JOTC
instructors to foreign jungle schools with a number of our
regional partners," Lyman said. "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.
Specifically for JOTC, the training is very regionally
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st. Class Justin Holt,
Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry
Division Jungle Operations Training Center platoon sergeant
and NCO in charge, described how training in a jungle
environment can challenge students.
"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
For some soldiers, the transition
from training and operating in a desert or urban environment
to jungle terrain has proved different from what some
students are used to.
"It's not flat ground, it's up
and downhill," said U.S. Army Pfc. Chad Cartwright, 2nd
Cavalry Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade
Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. "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. You really have to keep eyes open, eyes peeled
whenever you're walking around here because [terrain] is
thick and you have to maintain your situational awareness
and focus on every detail."
The 12-day-long Phase 1
course culminates with an exercise where all jungle skills
learned are combined into one final scenario.
end of this they are not going to be experts," Holt said.
"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. 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; they'll
know they can continue on. They'll know they can get the
Only 25th Infantry Division
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 the training in the future.
More photos available below
By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
Defense Media Activity
Comment on this article