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Through the Eyes of a Warrior

Civilian Logistics Career Management Office (CLCMO) logistics interns must complete various
requirements to graduate and begin their careers as Federal employees. One of the most challenging
aspects of the program is the 4-month-long Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC), during which interns train on Army doctrine and customs alongside lieutenants.

Danny Osborn, Leticia Williams, and I were interns who benefited from training with a BOLC class in a Sustainment Warrior field training exercise (SWFTX) and on the rifle range.

During SWFTX, Danny Osborn led the opposing force (OPFOR)—a small engagement team that modeled possible attacks that could occur in a fight. For this exercise, the OPFOR engaged U.S. forces by attacking their operations and causing harm and destruction to their tactical vehicles. The team approached Soldiers entering the village, and if Soldiers caused problems or did not ask the right questions, a two-man team of “insurgents” used mortar rounds or indirect fire to fire on the force from a nearby building.

The OPFOR engagements taught Soldiers how to react under fire and officers how to direct their Soldiers. If personnel were shot, lieutenants had to call in medics or drag them off the field. When U.S. forces entered the insurgents’ buildings, they searched the building and the insurgents. These events were true-to-life scenarios.

The OPFOR had a six-man insurgent team that simulated combat conditions by using improvised explosive devices and by attacking the main base with mortar fire. The insurgents were able to take the entry control point and two towers and clear the tactical operations center and four commanders’ tents.

This battle drill helped the warriors experience what would happen if a base was attacked. The Soldiers grabbed their body armor and Kevlar helmets and used situational awareness to address the circumstances they faced. As an OPFOR member, Osborn witnessed how Soldiers bonded and pulled security in an effort to identify the enemy. Once the enemy was identified, the teams returned suppressive fire.

After each scenario, students representing the U.S. force participated in an after-action review where they discussed what happened and how their response to the situation could have been improved.

Through various SWFTX training events, Leticia Williams gained respect for the warriors and the officers. During SWFTX, the tactical operations center was a business center in which commands were distributed and decisions were made. Some of the Department of the Army civilian interns assumed such staff positions as the S–1, S–2, S–3, S–4, public affairs officer, battalion movement officer/unit movement officer, forward operating base mayor, and contingency operating post mayor.

Williams was assigned as the S–2. She was responsible for gathering information about weather conditions and previous attacks that had taken place on the situational training exercise lanes. Williams received back briefs from the lieutenants about their attacks and the quick reaction
force techniques they used to combat the OPFOR. By holding this position, Williams realized how important it was to have accurate information in the fight.

On the rifle range, I reached for an M16A2 rifle for the very first time in my life as the range officer called,“Take your positions. Firers ready. Ready on the left. Ready on the right.” Weighted down with a modular lightweight load-carrying system, individual body armor, and a Kevlar helmet, I watched intensely as the instructors provided safety information and explained how to zero the weapon.

As sweat beads trickled down my back and across my forehead, I anxiously assumed the prone position and loaded a magazine into my weapon. The taste of dirt and dry air filled my mouth as I fired a round. Wearing full “battle rattle,” I quickly learned the importance of physical training. As a civilian, I had never experienced such an intense event on the job, and it gave me a newfound
respect for the operations Soldiers undertake to keep our homeland safe.

BOLC provided an opportunity for us interns to “see through the eyes of a warrior.” Through BOLC, we learned more than academics. We also learned survival skills through tactical training, combatives courses, and a SWFTX. Although BOLC was challenging at times, it was an experience that we will never forget and that has helped us to understand our customers, the Soldiers.

Siobhan R. Yarbrough is a logistics management specialist with the MRAP [mine-resistant ambushprotected vehicle] Logistics Support Team at the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). She holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in education from Virginia State University.

The author thanks Leticia L. Williams, now serving as a logistics management specialist with the PQDR [product quality deficiency report] Team at the CECOM LCMC, and Danny Osborn, working at the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for contributing to this article.

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