By Maj. Alexandra Weiskopf, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)July 18, 2017
Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) trained more than 200 United States Military Academy cadets in patrolling at Camp Buckner, New York, from June 26-30, 2017. The team of Green Berets served as the primary instructors for introduction to patrolling and also conducted train the trainer with cadet platoon and company leadership.
According to the detachment, the 1st SFG Soldiers partnered with the cadets for the Leader Training Period of the Cadet Field Training during the mandatory summer field exercises for rising sophomores. The training largely focused on patrolling, small-unit tactics, and introduction to basic branches.
"Developing, planning, and executing the introduction to patrolling lane during West Point's Cadet Field Training was a learning experience," said Capt. Matthew Talley, detachment commander. "Given the training audience, it forced me to refine how I coach and mentor junior leaders in order to achieve higher levels of performance and participation. Additionally, it exposed the cadets not only to small unit tactics but to the Special Forces branch, SF officer accessions, ODA capabilities and the dynamics of life on an ODA."
At West Point, each cadet is required to conduct a leadership detail where they are placed in positions of responsibility over underclassmen. At Cadet Field Training, the rising sophomores conduct four weeks of tactical training to include land navigation, basic riffle marksmanship, engineer lanes, call for fire, medical skills and introduction to patrolling.
The Cadet Field Training instructors chose the 3rd Battalion detachment to serve as the primary instructors for the introduction to patrolling portion of the training. The detachment developed a detailed 36-hour train the trainer program of instruction for the cadets to include patrolling techniques, react to contact, patrol base operations, ambush, and raid.
"The introduction to patrolling lane was a great opportunity to refine tactical teaching techniques in order to affect dramatic change in the proficiency of the cadets here at West Point," said Ryan, the team's intelligence sergeant. "The condensed training timeline encouraged detachment members to streamline the overall instruction process while allowing the cadets to capitalize on a range of topics from Soldier skills to small unit tactics."
The detachment led the cadets through a series of drills to enhance their Soldier skills. This included the basics of troop leading procedures at a patrol base, carrying techniques during casualty evacuation, and movement and maneuver drills.
"The opportunity to mentor and mold future Army leaders made this detail very satisfying. Having the ability to influence the mindset and competence of future officers connected my work to the larger Army team in a way that I don't often experience," said Joseph, the team's weapons sergeant. "For many cadets, patrolling was the first experience which required them to apply basic Soldier skills in a stressful, austere environment. The detachment used this detail as an opportunity to enhance each member's knowledge of small unit tactics, which will enhance our ability to conduct operations in both the Pacific and Middle East."