From July 10 to August 1, I attended Cadet Troop Leadership Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. My sponsor, LT Giancarlo Simmons, was an assistant squadron fire support officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment. LT Simmons, along with the other fire supporters assigned to HHB, 1/319, supported 5th squadron of the 73rd cavalry regiment. Our unit was in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
I enjoyed my time at CTLT, and feel it was very effective training. I had the opportunity, on a daily basis, to see the work environment inside the Headquarters Battery. This gave me insight into what day-to-day life was like in garrison, in the Army. It involved,
for LT Simmons, significant effort spent towards developing concepts of the operation for future training events. I was able to sit-in on two training meetings, one at the squadron level, and one at the battery level. Both were insightful.
During my time with 1/319, my sponsor jumped twice. I was able to watch all of the preparation that goes into airborne operations. The first of the two jumps involved a follow-on mission conducted by Bravo Troop, 5/73 cavalry. I was able to shadow a platoon leader in bravo troop for the mission, which I greatly enjoyed.
The platoon’s mission was an area reconnaissance. The platoon took contact about one hour after crossing their line of departure, and subsequently executed a platoon attack. It was great to watch how a real Army unit conducted such a mission.
I went with the fire supporters attached to Charlie Troop, 5/73 cavalry, on a two-day mortar call-for-fire FTX during my last week with the unit. This was great, as it allowed me to observe fire support Soldiers call in fire missions for a mortar section. I learned a great deal about how to call for fire, as well as about the technology used by fire supporters to facilitate more accurate fire missions. I was trained on how to use a dagger GPS and a vector, and was familiarized with a LLDR. Prior to this FTX, I had gone with my unit to the Forward Observer Training Simulator, and was able to call in simulated fire missions. Thus, this FTX helped bridge what I had learned in the simulator to a real life situation. I was also fortunate enough to hang about fifteen 60 mm mortar rounds.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to have attended CTLT. I think it is one of the best summer training programs provided by Cadet Command. It gave me first-hand knowledge of what life is like as an active duty Army officer. I was able to observe the dynamics of a real Army unit, and how 2nd Lieutenants fit into that puzzle. I would highly recommend applying for CTLT to all ML IIIs.