FORT KNOX, KY. — All active regiments of Cadet Leaders Course (CLC) participated in tactical field training over the course of 10 days, beginning on the 10th day of their training cycle and ending on the 20th day.
“On our first day in the field, we are doing Key Leader Engagements (KLE). Our purpose is to help build relationships between the people of the village so that we can help them support their government and put them back into authority while they help us decrease the SAPA (South Atropian People’s Army) forces within the villages,” said Cadet Lapaloma Roby of 2nd Regiment Alpha Company, from Loyola University Chicago.
Before conducting Key Leader Engagements, Cadets are divided by company into separate platoons, where they will take on roles as opposing forces in an international war scenario. Within this scenario, Cadets represent soldiers from the United States who are entering a country named Atropia to provide humanitarian aid and security from their bordering country’s forces. Cadets also play the ‘bad guy’ forces who also interact with the villages but in a forceful manner.
“My favorite thing about tactical field training is the emphasis they put on understanding how other cultures are different. Sometimes we need to think about our position in different environments and how we’re not the first, we’re not the best, and we’re not supposed to come here and act like we own everything. We need to just step back and listen to what they need and what resources we can provide so they can help us complete our mission,” Roby said.
The ways Cadets interact with the village leaders during key leaders can either make or break the platoon’s relationship with the village. The Cadets’ interactions both with their platoon and the village determine how the rest of the scenario will play out. The Cadets playing the ‘bad guys’ opposing force also determine the outcome of the scenario.
“I want to see how this mission [Key Leader Engagement] affects the missions within next few days. So if they actually build a good relationship, I want to see how this will ripple through the next few missions and if the other missions will be easier because it’ll help support us through it. And if not, I want to see the retributions from that,” Roby said.
Tensions between the forces rise as the week progresses. Some citizens in the villages find that the U.S. forces have not been at all helpful. With the tension at a high, Cadets must learn how to make decisions that are in Atropia’s best interest and how they can solve the conflicts that are occurring.
This field exercise is a culmination of all the skills Cadets have learned thus far and serves as an indication of their growth within Cadet Summer Training.