The Bayonet

Wednesday, Apr. 02, 2014

IBOLC students conduct room-clearing exercise

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IBOLC students conduct room-clearing exercise

By ANIESA HOLMES aniesa.holmes@thebayonet.com

Future platoon leaders from the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course learned the importance of facing the unexpected as a team during a room-clearing exercise March 25 at Buchanan Range.

Throughout the 17-week course, IBOLC students are engaged in a series of critical-thinking and leader-development training, combining warrior tasks, rifle marksmanship, land navigation, and squad and platoon-level operations.

Part of this training includes field operations in a mock-urban environment.

Capt. Andrew Lujan, senior platoon trainer for C Company, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, said room clearing prepares students to adjust to unfamiliar situations while using basic tactical knowledge.

"It's important that, as we become more urbanized across the globe, we're able to have leaders who are not only capable of fighting in the woods, but maneuvering platoons into an urban area to be able to effectively employ direct and indirect fire assets," he said.

Students are expected to plan and execute the training while rotating leadership positions. As team leaders and member of a squad, being a follower is just as important as being a leader, Lajun said.

"It's really important that the platoon leader understands team-level operations," he said. "When they go out into the force, it is their responsibility to certify and train their teams. To be effective at this, they need to be able to do it themselves."

2nd Lt. Ciardi Glenn, a foreign officer from Corozal, Belize, said learning effective communication and rifle marksmanship at IBOLC could prevent errors in real-world environments.

"You are moving with weapons that will eventually be loaded with live ammunition and the biggest concern is that you are communicating effectively so you don't end up hurting one of your fellow teammates," Glenn said.

Glenn previously trained with the Navy before joining IBOLC. Although Infantry training is not common in Belize, he said the learning experience is a great advantage.

"I operate in a mostly jungle urban environment, so I've done something similar to this before," Glenn said. "The methods that we use are slightly different but the idea is the same. Being here as a foreign officer, we get to learn, compare how we do it and adjust and find a perfect way of getting it done."

2nd Lt. Andres Grisales, from West Palm Beach, Fla., said operating successfully under stress and having an authentic command presence is much harder to develop than textbook tactics, but necessary for every Infantry leader.

"They want you come out of this with the skills and the ability to inspire others to want to follow you," Grisales said. "That's something that not only takes a long time to develop but an innate ability to do it. It's not something you can learn overnight."

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