WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The sound of gunfire echoed through the woods at Camp Buckner as cadets worked together to neutralize an enemy.
The bullets may have been blanks and the enemy’s weapon fake, but for this drill what was important was the cadets’ movements and correct response to contact. As they moved through the woods and worked to flank the enemy from the left side, Staff Sgt. Seth Glover, senior operations advisor for Combat Advisor Team 2131, 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, followed closely behind.
The SFAB team’s mission is to train, advise and assist foreign partners, but throughout the summer it will be using its skills to train U.S. Military Academy cadets taking part in Cadet Summer Training. The main training lane the team will be running is introduction to patrolling, which includes react to contact drills. The 12 members of the team will also be overseeing preliminary marksmanship instruction to new cadets during Cadet Basic Training.
The introduction to patrolling starts with a classroom session where the SFAB team teaches the basics. The cadets then run through multiple lanes that teach them how to cross a road, react to contact and set up an ambush, all of which are designed to teach basic skills to the future officers.
Throughout the training, members of the SFAB are close at hand providing tips, correcting mistakes and answering questions the cadets may have.
“It's really awesome having the SFAB unit out here doing it with us because it’s one thing to learn it in the classroom but it’s a whole other thing to see how it’s actually performed in the Army and have them be able to criticize us and tell us what we’re doing wrong,” Class of 2022 Cadet Madison Faust, who was going through the training lane run by Glover, said.
While their goal throughout the summer is to help better prepare the West Point cadets for their careers as Army officers, the time spent running lanes also serves the added benefit of allowing the SFAB Soldiers to refine their teaching skills.
“This falls right in line with training foreign partners, and something that we’re extremely likely to do in the future,” Capt. Wes Cooler, team leader for Combat Advisor Team 2131, 2nd SFAB, said. “This sets us up for success in future missions by training these cadets who are fairly new to military operations and patrolling. We may very likely run into foreign partners that are equally as inexperienced.”
That process was on display during the patrolling drills as the cadet squad gathered around Glover for a debrief on their actions after successfully eliminating the enemy. He explained the meanings of different fire rates, their uses in combat and whose responsibility it was to set the rate for the squad. He also taught them the different color classifications, such as green or black, to use when reporting their supply status back to command.
“The mutual benefit is that we’re gaining some proficiency and getting some repetitions at instructing military doctrine, as well as learning to interact with people who may not have the same language or use the same vocabulary as we do,” Cooler said. “That allows us to kind of take a step back and relearn a lot of the acronyms that we use nonchalantly through the training that we do and have to really explain those to somebody who may not.”