It was a rough morning for cadets from 2nd Platoon,
C Company, 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp, after they lost a third of their platoon in a defensive battle exercise July 23.

"Yesterday, we had taken a mortar position from some [opposing forces]," explained Cadet Eric Ward, University of Minnesota. "Today, our mission was to defend that position for a period of time, from 0900 [9 a.m.] in the morning to 2000 [8 p.m.] tonight."

They had been expecting the enemy to come anytime from 9 am. As they waited, people started to fall asleep. Leading cadets tried to maintain accountability by distributing snacks to the sleepy cadets.

As part of the platoon leadership, Ward and his fellow cadets devised a plan, using a terrain model they had formed by drawing pictures in the dirt.

"We made this diamond shape and we had everybody spread out along it," Ward continued. "It was going alright until they threw indirect fire at us."

The opposing force hit them in areas they had not anticipated, so the cadets attempted to adjust their plan. Amid gunfire, as the leadership directed teams to relocate, they lost their formation and the plan along the way.

"Our mission was to hold the position and that's exactly what we didn't do," asserted Cadet Joseph Steier, Creighton University, who played the role of the medic. "It led to a lot of confusion down the line. Once we took indirect fire, it kind of went haywire and everyone went running in every direction."


s part of the plan, the cadets radioed to initiate the Gold Plan, an order to fall back and leave their position.

"We saw one enemy and we shot him," Cadet Abigail Bibb, University of New Hampshire, described. "Then, the indirect fire came and that's when they called the Gold Plan. We weren't sure if we were supposed to run off or not. Once I got up, the other enemy popped out and shot me."


n all the commotion and chaos that ensued, the platoon took several casualties. Even the platoon sergeant went down after turning his back for one second without posting someone to provide security.

"I actually ended up having to carry a guy 200 meters down the hill, and then we had to carry him all the way back up," Steier said. "I had to set up six or seven casualty collection points."

By the time the mission had wrapped up, the platoon had scattered throughout the area with a third of the platoon down. Though the mission did not go as planned, the cadets said they will take the mistakes and improve for the next exercise.

"Whether or not we do the mission a hundred-percent right or wrong," said Cadet Collin Kilpatrick of Mansfield University, "the unity is growing."

(Above) A cadet from 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp carries a casualty during the exercise. (Top photo) 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp cadets ensure security as others tend to a casualty during the exercise.

Photos by KirstyAnn Cole | CST Public Affairs

A 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp cadet pulls security amid an attack during a field training exercise July 23.

A cadet from 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp aims his weapon toward the objective during guard duty.

A 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp cadet is instructed by a cadre member.