N.C. National Guard trains future leaders, soldiers

Mar. 30, 2013 @ 08:22 AM

Sixty-five Soldiers from the North Carolina National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Detachment IV, Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) trained at the Camp Butner National Guard Training Center here Feb. 23 and 24.

The soldiers, composed of new enlistees and Simultaneous Membership Participants (SMPs) through ROTC and Officer Candidate School (OCS), participated in the training to learn common soldier tasks and develop leadership skills in preparation for Army Basic Combat Training (BCT).  

This training event was the result of three months of preparation at the detachment’s home station in Morrisville.

The purpose of the RSP is to ensure new enlistees in the N.C. National Guard are administratively, physically and mentally prepared for their initial military training during basic training and follow-on military occupational skill training. The program was initiated to enhance a new soldier’s knowledge prior to basic training so that he or she would have a higher probability of success at BCT.

The field training exercise tested the soldier’s knowledge and skills on land navigation, radio operations, tactical field operations, medical evaluation and evacuation and many other common skills.

Detachment IV’s field training was composed of three platoons, each with three squads. OCS and SMP cadets were placed in the leadership positions, and were accountable for their soldiers and their tactical maneuvering while patrolling. Each platoon was assigned two noncommissioned officers as mentors and advisors. An SMP cadet was also assigned as a detachment first sergeant and had two additional senior NCO’s as advisors who assisted and mentored the leaders through the overall detachment operations.

The training consisted of a tactical vehicle movement, platoon-level tactical movement and patrol base operations. 

“I think this training went extremely well,” said Cadet Sebastian Ball, a North Carolina State University Army ROTC student and 2nd Platoon, Detachment IV platoon leader during the training. “It combined all the soldier skills we’ve learned, along with the leadership skills we are currently studying in ROTC.” 

Student leaders were given a mission to patrol an area of responsibility, code named: “AO Hogwarts.” The future leaders and soldiers had to plot their points on a map, and with a magnetic compass, navigate through the dense forest until they made contact with an opposing force, played by cadre from the Detachment IV.

Once the friendly platoon-sized elements made enemy contact, they attempted to locate and neutralize the enemy personnel, while under simulated fire. During the simulated chaos, the soldiers used communication equipment to send Situation Reports (SITREPS), Nine-Line Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) Requests and receive their follow-on mission.

“It gave me a chance not just to learn from a book but to do it hands-on, and feel what it is like to be in charge with that responsibility,” said Ball.

“I think this training gives both the ROTC SMP cadets and the warriors who just enlisted a good opportunity to train, learn, and grow before they head off this summer to their individual training programs,” said Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Dethmers, 2nd Platoon Senior Advisor for  Detachment IV. 

“The intent of the training is to allow third year SMP cadets to get a feel for command and control,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Mateo, Detachment IV RSP Senior Advisor. “They learn from hands on experience what it’s like trying to effectively communicate, how to make decisions, and pass on orders.”