Class Review of Combat Leader Course (CLC) April 2017-
Description of class:
Course length: 7 days, Sunday thru Sunday. Lived in a simulated FOB during class. We stayed in tents on site in as much comfort as you cared to bring. I recommend a large tent so you could do administrative tasks out of weather.
We used UTM rounds in our AR-15 rifles for the entire course. No live ammo.
Per class page. Camo clothing is necessary for types of missions run. You typically carry enough for a 12 hour mission. So 8 mags, water for 12 hours, some food, rain gear, protection gear per class page, etc. You are issued 1000 reds of UTM ammo. I used just under all of it. Bring some extra cash in case you have a heavy trigger finger. 1000 is a good average but some were under and some over.
Day 1 Sunday- arrive by 1500. Admin and check in. Terrain Model construction. We improved several times during week.
Day 2 Monday- lecture on Op Orders in morning. After lunch, First Warno for afternoon mission. Appointed squad leader (SL) planned mission, gave Op Order, (Max critiques Op Order after presentation), then on to rehearsals and then do it live. There were 4 OPFOR we fought against each mission all week. After mission, we debriefed. Returned to FOB. Did admin and then eat and sleep.
Day 3-7 Tuesday thru Sunday-
This would be our routine throughout the week. Max would give WARNO to the 2 new SL for next day the evening before. One SL presented OP ORDER at 8am. 2nd SL presented at 1pm. We ran 2 missions each day using same routine. This repetition gave us opportunity to learn how to plan and write Operation Orders, then present them, rehearse them and then lead the mission.
Max did allow some folks to stay in hotels due to logistics, but preference was to stay in FOB. We were able to make supply runs in town if needed. We also ate on Friday night as a class in town. And Saturday night we cooked burgers for all students and OPFOR.
First, this is the only class that I know of that teaches how to plan and execute a mission using the Military Planning model. Although, you may attend a course that presents this in a general way, this class teaches it and makes you do it, over and over. Which is the only way to learn it. Now understand, you will learn it but you need a lot more repetitions to get good at it. A LOT.
Second, this class really provided an excellent medium to learn leadership and follower skills in a stressful environment. Some students had trouble leading, some had trouble following. We were presented with so many learning opportunities that you will fail and learn. This is not an easy class. It will take you out of your comfort zone and you will learn from it. I found being a follower harder than a leader. It is something I have identified to work on going forward. Which is the beauty of this class.
Finally, communication was the real difficulty for everyone. We improved as the week went on. However, It wasn’t until the last day that it clicked for me that listening is just as important in communicating. This may seem counter to what you learn at CTT but if you practice and get decent at moving by bounds in pairs, you don’t have to keep yelling to move. Just do it silently unless you have to yell. It makes it easier to hear commands from Team Leader (TL) and SL. Another lesson on listening. As a TL, it is easy to get wrapped up in your own team, moving and fighting your guys, to the point where you are not listening for commands from the SL. It’s kinda like over focusing on IVAN or you sights. As a TL, you need to give short LOUD commands to team but be quiet so you can hear your SL. Speaking/yelling is only half of communication.
There is a misconception that if you learn basic Fire and Movement at CTT that you are good to go. That is so far from the truth. CTT teaches you a tool so you can function in a team, but it is just the basics. We have a lot to learn. And the CLC class is the next logical step in your learning progression.