Two Soldiers enrolled in the Warrior Leader Course discuss land navigation during the Situational Training Exercise Friday in the woods surrounding Selby Combined Arms Collective Training Facility.

FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 5, 2013) -- A group of 87 Soldiers enrolled in the Henry Caro Noncommissioned Officer Academy's Warrior Leader Course took part in the course's culminating exercise Friday at Selby Combined Arms Collective Training Facility on Harmony Church.

WLC trains junior NCOs in basic leadership, warfighting and tactical skills during a 22-day program of instruction, with the Situational Training Exercise serving as the Soldiers' final test.

"We incorporate the land navigation piece through our movements around Selby CACTF and we incorporate all their leadership and training abilities that they've learned in the classroom along with the warfighting pieces that they've learned in the classroom," said Sgt. 1st Class Seth Taylor, a senior instructor for WLC.

"They come out here, and they have to bring it all together in a comprehensive exercise."

The exercise consisted of three lanes, with each lane focused on a different scenario and land navigation checkpoints.

The first lane had Soldiers navigate to a simulated casualty and then extract the casualty.

The second lane had Soldiers conduct dismounted route clearance to prepare them for the threat of improvised explosive devices.

In the third lane, Soldiers patrolled through a village and used their cultural awareness skills to make contact with a group playing the role of a foreign family.

Taylor said Soldiers were evaluated not on their technique during the lanes, but on their ability to lead effectively.

"We're looking for leadership abilities," he said. "We don't focus on technique. They can make the mistakes in their technique here, but we're looking to see if they can step up to the plate. Are they willing to take charge? Are they going to be that NCO that you'd be willing to follow in combat?"

Sgt. Dylan Robertson, one of the WLC students, said he enjoyed the opportunity to apply the skills he had learned during the course.

"It was good to get out there and apply some stuff," Robertson said. "It's one thing to sit in a classroom and talk about it, but to get out there and actually do it is completely different."

One of Robertson's squadmates, Spc. Lisa Wix, said the Soldiers' time together during WLC helped to forge effective means of communication.

"The cohesion of everyone was great," Wix said. "We do communicate real well, and so when we got out there and we knew what a person may be thinking, that did help."

With the course coming to an official end Thursday, Robertson said it was beneficial, especially for the younger participants.

"I think that this course is really important because you've got a lot of guys here and some of them have never seen this stuff before," Robertson said. "A lot of it is learning the basics, but you've got to start from the bottom."

Taylor, meanwhile, said the most recent participants had been particularly impressive, and that the future of WLC looks bright.

"This has been one of the better classes that we've had in a long time, and I'm pretty excited with the direction that we're going as far as going to the 22-day program of instruction and adding the land navigation piece," he said.

Page last updated Thu June 6th, 2013 at 14:42