We were given exclusive access training at Fort Polk this week, as the Army honed skills that have endured necessary neglect for the past nine years. You can read the full report in Army Times’ AUSA Special Edition, which hits newsstands Monday, Oct. 25.
In the meantime, Outside the Wire offers these few helpful hints for all soldiers who will soon partake in full spectrum training:
1. Bring a shovel
Not because you’ll be knee-deep in a particular creek, but because you’ll be preparing fox holes and defensive perimeters – something the Army hasn’t done for nearly a decade. We couldn’t help but notice that soldiers who put full faith in the e-tool got their butts handed to them by the hard earth. Some old soldiers who have dug a couple positions in their day found room for a real shovel among the gear, and were set up in no time.
2. Be ready to improvise.
No plan survives intact after first contact. A few hours after a massive infil we caught up with LTC Marcus Evans, commander of the 2nd of the 505th. His men were maneuvering through the Louisiana woodlands to secure some serious acreage, and C2 was lacking. Evans improvised. His Hummer soon had hot wires coming from every direction to get comm up. Such innovation was par for the course.
3. Take nothing for granted.
The Op For at JRTC has got its stuff together. They were able to get a civilian-clad “reporter” into a press conference to glean intel. Luckily, she wasn’t strapped with 20 pounds of C4. A little later, an Apache was called in to silence a pesky and fairly unorganized assault. When he arrived, those “inferior” fighters lit up an SA-18 and took the bird out. Ouch.
And don’t think you’re safe in the rear with the gear. You’re on their turf no matter where you are. The first concentrated attack locked the brigade TOC in close-quarters battle.