By Whitney Allen
Yellow smoke and the sound of gunfire filled the air as members of the 9th Regiment of LDAC conducted a raid during Platoon Operation training. The platoon invaded terrain held by a hypothetical terrorist group known as SAPA forces. SAPA put up a strong defense, but was ultimately defeated by the cadets.
Cadets put all of the previous weeks’ training into action during “platoon ops”. An example, the platoon leader navigates the platoon through a variety of terrain to find their target, utilizing the skills learned in Land Navigation.
When causalities are sustained cadets must call in a MEDEVAC request and carry the causality to a safe spot—lessons learned in First Aid.
All of this is done under the leadership of the Platoon Leader and Sergeant. In true fashion of a real life situation, the cadets don’t always know when they’re going to be thrown into a leadership role.
Cadet Cat McCaw, a student at Chapman University in California and an ROTC cadet at Cal State Fullerton, was the platoon leader of a recent operation. McCaw found out the morning of the operation that she would serve in the day’s leadership role.
“I was a ‘Joe’ last night so I had no idea I was taking on this position,” McCaw said.
Nonetheless McCaw took on the position and the objective was taken, but not without some flaws.
The cadets and those portraying SAPA forces aren’t shooting actual bullets, but in order to keep things realistic there have to be some wounded in the process. The tactical officers on site tell cadets when they’ve been shot and where they are wounded.
Cadet Wyatt Brinkman of the University of Washington in Seattle was one of the cadets shot during the objective. Surprisingly enough, Wyatt was shot by his own platoon sergeant.
“Things were going well and I got hit with friendly fire,” Wyatt said. “But I came out with my leg intact.”
Platoon Ops is still part of the training process, therefore mistakes are expected along the way. The 5th Platoon of Bravo Company took on a different objective. While they also achieved their objective, there were some hiccups along the way.
Dakota Relford from Texas A&M was a part of the initial assault on the target.
“Last night was really rushed, everything was rushed. Communication was low and moving here everybody got lost,” Relford said.
But with practice came improvement and the platoon eventually found their way.
“For all the bad things that happened we managed to complete the objective,” Relford said. “We really learned how we work together as a platoon.”