In creating a culture of innovation and creativity, the Maneuver Center’s Soldiers should think of themselves as warrior athletes, Fort Benning’s commanding general told attendees Oct. 22 at the Commanders and Directors of Training Conference.
Captains of the Maneuver Captains Career Course are using physical training for mentorship between them and the second lieutenants of the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course. This provides learning opportunities for the future Army leaders through an important Soldier concept: physical fitness.
“PT is a training event,” said Capt. Mike Hefti, MCCC small group leader for Seminar 2, Team 3. “By showing up and seeing a deliberate PT plan put together, they can see that this is a standard, not just in the schoolhouse, but that other future commanders are (setting) for them.”
“It’s a great demonstration of leadership,” said 2nd Lt. James O’Keefe, ABOLC student. The Soldiers broke into groups and made their way through four stations around the field, where they completed push-ups, navigated obstacle courses, performed box jumps and a sled drag as well as maneuvered their way across the ninja warrior ladder. At three of the four stations, Soldiers were tasked penalty air squats or burpees for obstacles not completed.
The use of Peden Field, Hefti said, is an example of integration of using the assets post has to offer Soldiers. Capt. Robert Miad, MCCC student from the Djibouti army said it was a very enjoyable day to work toward getting his body ready for the challenges of the Army. The collaboration is meant to mold leaders who are faster, smarter, more lethal and precise in their actions.
Second Lt. Mason Thomas, ABOLC student, said the interactions between the captains and lieutenants showed him how he should integrate his lieutenants when he becomes a captain. “I’m thinking way more ahead to a 300-meter target, rather than just ABOLC, which is a 50- to 100-meter target,” Thomas said.
Hefti said the lieutenants lack context as to what the real operating force will be like when they get to their unit and what challenges they’ll have – leadership, motivating Soldiers, working with a platoon sergeant, working with a commander. Through the mentorship, captains take the lieutenants under their wing and offer them real-world advice, answer their questions and assure they are prepared for life after their leadership course.
“At this point, their apertures are wide open, receiving information all day long,” said Hefti. Some of the captains were just recently platoon leaders and executive officers and some small group leaders have been commanders and said there is value in those captains sharing their knowledge with the lieutenants. Leaders master the fundamentals so their subordinates can be masters.
The Soldiers will work together to continue PT sessions and leader professional development sessions between once a month and once a week over the duration of their courses.
Photo credit: U.S. Army Soldiers, assigned to 173rd Airborne Brigade, conduct the rope bridge water crossing lane during the U.S. Army Europe-hosted 2015 European Best Squad Competition at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Oct. 21, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Gertrud Zach)