Twenty-nine lieutenants assigned to 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), recently learned how to manage stress and work as a unified team during Platoon Leader Academy, a two-day training exercise.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Harrison, commander, 1-187th Inf. Regt., said the training’s purpose is to build camaraderie through shared hardship.
“The goal is to build skills, trust, and the warrior ethos of the air assault culture among the lieutenants as we validate their lethality,” Harrison said.
The Platoon Leader Academy began with an obstacle course-based physical training session. The event’s instructors divided the lieutenants into three teams who raced to complete the challenge. The Soldiers maneuvered over the obstacles, including Jacobs Ladder, Tough One, Belly Over and Weaver.
While the lieutenants moved through the obstacle course, cadre posed a series of questions about the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program. If the officers answered a question incorrectly or failed to complete an obstacle, their team was penalized with additional physical training exercises to emphasize the importance of the physical and emotional aspects of leadership.
Captain Joseph Walker, Platoon Leader Academy cadre, said being an officer allows Soldiers to grow and continuously improve.
“I believe as you gain more experience, your perspective will change, allowing you to see how you could do things differently or more effective,” Walker said.
Although the obstacle course is challenging, it is important, he said
“Knowing how to help my Soldiers in these situations is one of the most important things I can do as a leader,” Walker said.
The next event was classroom-based training on the Profession of Arms, U.S. Army Doctrine, and the role and expectations of a platoon leader in the U.S. Army.
Following the classroom training, the lieutenants “rucked up” for foot movements to three checkpoints manned by Fort Campbell’s Ready and Resilient team to conduct team-building exercises.
Once the teams completed all three team-building exercises, they merged into one platoon-sized element, moved into the wood line, established security of a patrol base and set priorities of work. The cadre selected a platoon leader and issued an operations order. Under cover of darkness, the lieutenants planned and executed a platoon-level operation to raid an enemy storage depot.
Second Lieutenant Clark Tecson, an intelligence officer assigned to 1-187th Inf. Regt., said the training was a valuable experience.
“It’s training like this that really brings a team together,” Tecson said. “This academy really emphasized the importance of communicating with each other when the days are long and everyone is tired. I know I can count on any of my peers to go above and beyond to accomplish the mission.”