By Melissa K. Buckley, Fort Leonard WoodJuly 22, 2014
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 22, 2014) -- Students in the Military Police Basic Officer Leader Course here are testing a type of training that is taking the Soldiers back to the basics by incorporating expeditionary operations into their class.
The back-to-basics training initiative is stemming from guidance set forth by the Chief of Staff of the Army saying that the Army should be able to rapidly deploy, fight, sustain itself and win in austere environments and rugged terrain.
"The purpose of this style of training is to get away from the traditional model of training used to prepare leaders to deploy to later phases of Iraq and Afghanistan where infrastructure was in place, and Soldiers live and operate out of secured forward operating bases or combat outposts," said Capt. Josh Trulock, MP Basic Officer Leader Course, or BOLC, small group leader.
"We want to develop critical thinkers and problem solvers who have to think through the variables of not only running missions, but also sustaining and surviving with only their organic assets," he added.
During a routine field training exercise, which ran from July 8 to Tuesday, the MP BOLC students spent three of those nights practicing expeditionary style training.
The class prepared for the exercise by conducting field training for a week to rehearse the basic tasks, including patrol bases that are to be evaluated during their final field training exercise.
Second Lt. Ryan Tyre, an MP BOLC student, described the experience like camping, but in a large triangle to offer some security.
"Instead of heading into a [forward operating base] or [combat outpost] set-up, we had to establish a patrol base in the woods. It was a mounted operation, which for most of us is brand new. It was quite the experience," Tyre said.
First, students performed reconnaissance on the site with a couple of trucks and then placed the heavier weapons.
As platoon leader, Tyre said security was his highest priority.
"My night was long. We took some fire from a four-to-five-man element right after we established the patrol base," Tyre said.
"After we established security, we maintained our weapons, ate some Meals Ready to Eat, had a little personal hygiene time, and sleeping came last," he added.
The students took turns sleeping, so that each of the trucks were manned during the night.
"This training forces the students to learn and apply basic-field craft to learn how to live out of their ruck sack and combat platform for prolonged periods of time. It also teaches them how to find a location suitable for established security, to conduct basic maintenance and plan for future missions with strict time constraints and under adverse conditions, such as heat and rain," Trulock said.
Currently the MP BOLC is only testing this form of field training to assess both what it adds to training realism and what gains are achieved in lieutenants' development as officers, according to Trulock.
"After completing the training for the first time, I think that this was a great success. Not only did the students get a chance to see and learn the complexities and difficulties in running operations daily without some of the comforts afforded in recent theaters, but we as instructors took away many lessons learned to both incorporate into future training and improve upon it," Trulock said.