FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — In Basic Combat Training, Soldiers learn to conquer their fears by navigating obstacles at the confidence course or rappelling down Warrior Tower. They improve their physical fitness through the physical endurance course and by other physical training. They learn basic soldiering skills, such as land navigation and marksmanship.
As the they progress further into their training, they begin learning the tactical skills they will need to be successful on the battlefield. This portion of their training is referred to as FTX.
FTX stands for field training exercise, and it is broken down into three separate phases: FTX 1, FTX 2 and FTX 3, according to Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Sneed, Company A, 1st Battalion 48th Infantry Regiment drill sergeant.
Sneed said FTX 1 is more classroom based, with PowerPoint presentations.
“This is the crawl phase, it’s where the trainees learn the basics,” he said. “In FTX 2, we are in the walk phase. We are actually doing and going through and showing the trainees the correct way to complete the tasks.”
By FTX 3, Soldiers are in the run phase, and drill sergeants are there more to evaluate rather than direct, as trainees should be able to complete the tasks with minimal supervision, Sneed added.
On Aug. 31, trainees of Company A, 1st Battalion 48th Infantry Regiment were out in the field for FTX 2.
“The trainees are going to be working on noise and light discipline. They have to work on challenging passwords, so if anybody comes into their area, they know how to stop that individual and identify them as friendly or foe,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Minnix, Company A, 1st Battalion 48th Infantry Regiment drill sergeant.
“The trainees are also going to have to learn how to operate and move as a member of a team and squad. They are going to have to work on different tactical formations, how to react to contact, and how to cross linear danger areas such as a road or river bed,” Minnix said.
“We have been working on the fundamentals of being outside in the woods, basically how it would be in real life situations,” said Pfc. Abagayle MacLeod, a trainee with Company A. “I am learning how to adapt to the environment, what I need to look for and how to pay attention to details.”
The skills they learn during the FTX portion of basic training will be carried with them throughout their careers.
“We are preparing these trainees to fight the enemy outside the wire. What we are doing here is practicing, rehearsing and establishing muscle memory, so that when they get out in the real world, in a real fight, they know what to do,” Sneed said.