Thundering Beaver: POC Perspective
Operation Beaver Thunder is a huge step forward in helping Det 685 cadets prepare for an increasingly expeditionary Air Force. The importance of creating battlefield airmen only continues to become more and more evident as time goes on. Over half of field training now takes place at the Camp Shelby in Mississippi and teaches future POC how to lead in a deployed environment. Det 685 has a legacy of producing some of the best officers in the Air Force.
In order to keep this tradition of excellence alive, the cadet wing worked for 12 weeks to create a Field Leadership Exercise, designed to simulate a deployment. All cadets were separated into two chalks and processed through a pre-deployment line. Each chalk was independently transported out to Camp Adair, any Army National Guard training facility, where they received 4 hours of field tactics training.
After the training, each chalk moved to the “battle field”. Here was where the cadets had chance to apply the knowledge they’d gained in the morning. This portion of training also doubled as a chance for the junior cadets to lead in high stress combat simulation. The field consisted of 5 flags spaced evenly from each team’s base. The objective was to take and hold this flags for as long as possible during each hour long game. As the day progressed different challenges were presented and the cadets were forced to adapt on the fly.
At the conclusion of the event the camps were cleaned up and each chalk transited back to the field house. After everything had been checked back in, a wing wide bbq was held to put an end to the day.
When all was said and done, the event was a huge success. Christopher and his staff not only created a solid foundation to build on, but pulled off one of the most flawlessly executed events of the year. The FLX experience created leadership challenges that can’t be found in any other Det activity. While the staff faced the rigors of planning, having such in an integrated event meant the entire wing had to work as a unit to pull it off. The communication and teamwork seen between squadrons leading up to and on the day of the event is something that rarely happens during the year.
The value of leading in a more hands on, and time sensitive situation was invaluable. The juniors and sophomores were able to experience a much different environment than normally seen during LLab. One thing that was learned quickly was the value of good communication. When one team was lacking in communication, the other would immediately begin to take charge of the field.
While the success of this event alone is enough to take pride in, the hope is that it will only continue to grow. As the detachment grows and evolves, this unique event will grow with it. Each new class of 300’s that comes back from field training will be able to it and make it better, until it’s the envy of every det in the nation.