By Capt. Jannelle Allong-DiakabanaJuly 17, 2019
Combat Advisor Teams 1221 and 1222, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade made history by becoming the first elements of an SFAB to participate in the U.S. Military Academy's Cadet Field Training and use the training area to increase their proficiency as advisors.
"By coming to West Point, we were able to exercise a lot of a CAT's training objectives," says Capt. Nicholas Walker, CAT 1221.
Each summer and throughout the academic year, the U.S. Military Academy partners with various military and DOD organizations to facilitate the military development of the Army's future leaders. Cadet Summer Training presents unique opportunities and provides resources needed for these organizations to meet training objectives and optimize their core competencies.
Walker says they identified a training opportunity last year, coordinated with the Department of Military Instruction, obtained approval for their concept from Brig. Gen. Scott A. Jackson, the 1st SFAB Commander, and arrived here at USMA excited about a training opportunity they may not have so easily found at Fort Benning, the 1st SFAB's home station.
CFT is a four-week long program that emphasizes general military skills, individual preparedness training, preparations for extended field operations and small unit tactical operations.
There are two different iterations of CFT in the summer to allow cadets to tackle other competing graduation requirements.
Members of both CATs participated in the first iteration of CFT. They were partnered with a cadet platoon and were able to advise and assist them during small unit operations, focusing on the introduction to patrolling lanes.
"The training went really well," Capt. Jacob Haag of the Department of Military Instruction said.
Haag currently serves in CST S3 and brought attention to the opportunity almost year ago.
"It exposed the cadets to a unit that they may be a part of one day and really provided a professional top notch class of instruction during their Field Training Exercise," Hagg said.
Cadets are introduced to patrolling and perimeter defense in their military science classes, but it is the actual execution piece during the summer when the knowledge sticks to their sponge-like brains.
The FTX is six days long and trains cadets on Basic Officer Leader Course-A tasks, such as preparing a military brief, developing an effective team, navigation from one point to another, communicating by tactical radio and employing small unit operations and tactics.
Rising seniors and juniors execute troop-leading procedures, integrate artillery and mortar assets during a platoon defense, conduct patrol base operations and develop engagement areas as part of their culminating field training exercise.
Rising sophomores, also known as Yearlings, perform duties as members of an infantry squad, an essential phase in their preparation to assume duties as NCOs in the Corps of Cadets.
Cadets will have the opportunity to incorporate air defense and aviation assets into multiple field problems, observe Unmanned Aerial Vehicle teams in action and conduct ambushes with ODA teams this summer. All these organizations will benefit from the resources and training area that West Point proper has to offer.
"Having one of the Army's newer units, a unit that Gen. Milley has said is a high priority, and whose job really is training and advising out at Camp Buckner working with our cadets was phenomenal," Haag said.