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Newsletter 09-40
June 2009

Prologue: Basic Combat Training

Initial entry training is undergoing the most significant changes since our country entered World War II. The forcing function for this current change has been the U.S. Army's involvement in the Global War on Terrorism. Company commanders are expected to develop training plans that are relevant and that prepare our Soldiers for combat operations. Many of these Soldiers will see combat within 18 months of their initial entry training. The training outcomes we endeavor to develop in our Soldiers are high moral character, a commitment to living the Army's values and warrior ethos, confidence, adaptability, mental agility, and physical fitness, while being mentally, spiritually, and emotionally ready to fight as a ground combatant. Soldiers are expected to have mastered critical combat skills, warrior tasks and battle drills, combat weapons confidence, and combat care. Soldiers must be self-disciplined and willing and capable of solving problems commensurate with their positions and experience.

As a company commander, I have the responsibility to train a gender-integrated company of approximately 240 Soldiers and 12 drill sergeants, 6 days a week, 11 and 1/2 months a year. In this series of nightmares, my company prepares and executes our 5- to 7-day culminating field training exercise, which we call Dragon Challenge. This exercise is designed to force Soldiers to execute their tactical tasks in a continuous stressful environment while serving as members of a squad and platoon in combat conditions applicable to our Army's current operating environment. The Soldiers conduct operations from a forward operating base (FOB). These operations consist of improvised explosive device sweeps, security and presences patrols, military operations in urbanized terrain, convoy operations, and FOB security against a free-thinking insurgency threat. Throughout the field training exercise, Soldiers must exhibit confidence in their warrior task and battle drills, weapons confidence, combat fitness, and cultural awareness.

To appreciate what I explain, you must realize that my nightmares occur in the same place, at the same time, with the same cast of characters. The overriding theme throughout is my ability to remember the previous nightmares' lessons which I apply in future dreams. My objective upon awakening is to write down the dream's lessons promptly so I can apply them to my real world training in an effort to avoid misfortune and doom.


 

 
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