FORT HOOD, Texas -- In any Army unit, the ability to plan effectively is a factor that can make or break mission success. To get better understanding of how to develop solid plans, Soldiers of 1st Squadron "Garryowen," 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team "Ironhorse," 1st Cavalry Division attended a three-week long Mobile Training Team Cavalry Leader Course Sept. 2 through 19 here.
"I consider this a high payoff training event, and it's also low cost, because instead of sending nine students to Fort Benning, the unit only has to pay for one instructor to come to them," said Capt. Jared Graham. "I think a unit can get a lot out of the training and the personnel, because now they can understand doctrine and apply it for their unit in a way that's really going to help them be more effective."
Graham, a Cavalry Leader Course instructor assigned to 3rd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, 316th Cavalry Brigade, said students will leave the course with a new understanding for developing plans in a time condensed environment while synchronizing other elements of planning to accomplish a mission.
"Plans rarely survive a first contact," said Graham, a native of Escondido, California. "That's a phrase that you hear quite a bit in the Army. Going through the process of planning and establishing a level of detail is important, because as the situation changes, it gives us a framework and understanding that we can be reactive, flexible, adaptable and all these other things that we have to be when we're doing missions."
For 1-7 CAV students like Sgt. 1st Class Robert Ruge, this is a real-time planning experience.
During week two, the class had to create a plan of action based on a brigade-level order to provide a flank guard in a battlefield scenario.
"This is a quick tempo plan," said Ruge, a cavalry scout and native of Boelus, Nebraska. "As (the plan is) progressing, the enemy is moving toward us, so we have minimal time to plan … where to place our three line troops with the assets we have attached to get the effect on the enemy that we're looking for."
Ruge said this experience will come in handy when he transitions into the role of observer-controller-trainer for National Guard units in the future.
"(This class) will definitely give me a step up in showing (units) what they need to be putting in their thought process when they are planning missions," Ruge said.
In addition, 1-7 CAV Soldiers in the class will have a chance to put these sharpened skills into practice this fall during training exercises in three countries and two continents.
While part of the squadron trains with partnered allies in Lithuania during Atlantic Resolve, Soldiers heading to Germany for Combined Resolve III will have support from their own backyard in October. Troopers in Texas are set to run a tactical operations center during two simultaneous training exercises linked to CBRIII.
"I think (the Cavalry Leader Course) brings a lot of different disciplines together," Graham said. "Because this is a (scenario) that's going to involve everybody, we have to understand how we're all going to fit into the big picture and how our small piece influences the echelons above."