FORT BENNING, Ga., (Feb. 24, 2016) — Fort Benning Commanding General Maj. Gen. Scott Miller told Infantry Soldiers early on in their training that the Soldiers in the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course are their brothers.
2nd Lt. Zachary Bates, Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course student, said that idea came together when he worked with ABOLC students Feb. 22-24 during a combined competitive maneuver exercise at the Good Hope Maneuver Training Area.
“It’s a real good experience, especially working with the ABOLC students,” Bates said. “Some of the guys I was with in (Officer Candidate School), a lot of guys were with West Point and (went through) ROTC together, so a lot of our experiences have been parallel in our training here at Fort Benning.”
Additionally, captains from the Maneuver Captains Career Course and NCOs from the Warrior Leader Course were brought in to serve as mentors for the future leaders.
“Just really getting a feel for how a unit is going to work together – that’s been the best part of the training,” Bates said.
“This kind of training … the combined arms maneuver exercises really facilitates smart, fast, lethal and precise Soldiers and the development of those traits in new lieutenants,” said 2nd Lt. Bryan Carroll, ABOLC student.
Students in the offensive role seized an objective, using Infantry and Armor tactics to maneuver. Carroll said his platoon’s objective was to establish a support by fire position to engage and destroy enemy Armor on the objective.
As an Armor Soldier, Carroll said he learned about Armor and Infantry integration, specifically how to incorporate dismounts and their capabilities when breaching.
“Being out here gives us an idea of the realities of combined arms maneuver,” he said.
He said he found value in the live exercise versus working in a simulated environment at the Close Combat Tactical Trainer.
“(In a simulated environment) you don’t feel the engine of the tank, you don’t hear the impact of the rounds, you don’t have to maneuver an actual tank,” Carroll said. “(CCTT) is perfect for learning the fundamentals of maneuver. However, when you get out here you really have to employ the fundamentals of really being a Soldier – how to fight from your vehicle, how to live from your vehicle and to maintain your vehicle.”
He said his situational awareness was expanded in the real-world environment because he had to use terrain to his advantage, whereas in a simulated environment, it is hard to understand the nature of the terrain.
The training is beneficial for those Soldiers who will go to a mechanized unit and work with other branches outside their own, Bates said.
“The combined arms is probably one of, if not the most rewarding experience in IBOLC so far,” Bates said.
Armor School instructor Capt. Thomas Powers said this particular class is the best he had seen.
“They are not masters, yet, but they’re learning how to employ the fundamentals and they are showing great skill at it,” Powers said.
Photo caption: Second lieutenants of the Armor and Infantry schools collaborated with captains of the Maneuver Captains Career Course and NCOs of the Warrior Leader Course for a combined competitive maneuver exercise at the Good Hope Maneuver Training Area. U.S. Army photo by Markeith Horace.