Thursday, July 23, 2009

Officer training

I recently flew to South Dakota to observe some officer candidates in training. On the way, we flew directly over the Grand Teton Mountains, seen in the pic below.

Part of the training was a water event designed to increase confidence, discipline and obdience. Have a look at the pic below. This is called the "unexpected entry" event. The candidate stands on the diving board, blindfolded, holding an M16. They then walk off the end until they fall into the water.

In the pic below, the candidate is standing on the edge of the pool, and the trainer talks for a moment then suddenly shoves the candidate backward into the water. The Army needs to train its officers to do whatever they are asked to do, without question, even if it sounds crazy. This is part of building that mindset.

Yer basic military briefing.

You've all heard about one of these. Many of us have been unfavorably compared to one. I saw one in the briefing shed, and snapped this pic before it could get away. Yes, it's a box of rocks.


fortboise said...

It can't be a mystery that you're in a pool, or on a diving board... you know you're going off the end, it's just a question of which step is the last one.

So, what did we learn?!

And for the push-in, WTF? Is this training for the pusher, to make sure he can follow an order to abuse someone? Seems like the pushee would learn to be wary of someone whom he should be able to trust.

I do not understand.

alan said...

Like I said, it's training officers to follow orders, even if they sound crazy. It's a discipline thing. Plus, have you ever stepped off a diving board blindfolded? Doing it builds confidence in yourself, and in the idea that the Army, like God, won't ask you to do anything you can't handle.

The pushee isn't expecting to trust the pusher, because he knows what's coming. It's not abuse, it's an exercise of holding on to your weapon in sudden circumstances.

This is how you build leaders who are willing to run up the hill under fire, and take their soldiers with them.

It just seems crazy at first glance. Like hollering at a trainee for not folding his socks exactly right. Who cares how his socks are folded? Nobody, really, but the Army needs soldiers who follow orders they don't agree with.

It is hard to understand. It took me many years to figure it out. Or to become indoctrinated/co-opted.

fortboise said...

I stepped off a lot of diving boards, but never blindfolded. (I did sufficient damage with my eyes open, thanks.) None with my clothes on, or rifle in hand, either.

Holding on to your weapon is clear enough. And the following arbitrary orders thing...

It's a difficult tradeoff between making people responsive to the chain of command while still being able to take advantage of the flexibility that makes us human.

Chances are I'm not going to figure it out, but I appreciate the glimpse you offer.