The Army has over 200 more leaders today than it did last week. National Guardsmen from the West and Midwest graduated from the Army’s Warrior Leader Course yesterday; I was proudly among them. Though trained to use a camera in combat, I now know I can successfully flank a team of interviewers on an objective.
The two-week WLC was a mixed bag from a training and leadership standpoint. Our senior instructor pointed out that many businesses, organizations, and people spend thousands of dollars on leadership seminars and courses. I got paid to go to mine, with five-star meals and the opportunity to clean barracks every morning.
In fact, my garrison leadership did not “exceed course standards” because two windows sills were a mite dusty. You can’t buy that kind of training in the civilian sector.
The whole thing confirmed much of my conceptions about Army operations, though. For one, I received my orders three days before my report date, right smack in the middle of a hectic home move. I saved the California Guard a few bucks by driving a moving truck to Utah rather than taking a military-paid flight.
At any rate, on day one at Camp Williams, Utah, we got right into the classroom with a full complement of PowerPoint presentations. More on that later.
“They break you down to build you up.” Remember that? Didn’t happen here, either, but our field training was a bit more interesting and a lot funner than anything I had done prior.
Out in the field, the smell of the hot, black steel of my M16 reminded me of Basic Training. It ain’t napalm in the morning, but it’s a smell I will never forget.
Lots of other lessons will stay with me, too. Now that I am a Warrior-Leader, I have more skills to take to the classroom. I will spare you the jokes about the relevance of urban combat tactics in Richmond and Oakland area high schools. (There is some relevance, though).
Over the next couple of months, I will share some of what I observed and leaned during WLC.
For Soldiers, some examples of how to make the most of training by understanding how good instruction is designed and how real learning is achieved.
Teachers can expect a healthy dose of examples of getting things done simply by demanding that they get done. I have always said, the Army might not be efficient, but it is thorough.
And to my beloved civilian readers: the life and death battles waged in the mountains of Afghanistan are mocked up in the Oquirrh Range near Salt Lake City. It’s really dusty out there, by the way.