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Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team Bringing Next Generation Technologies To Soldiers

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Sanford, a maintenance supervisor, Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 145th Field Artillery Regiment, gives commands to his platoon following their departure from a UH-60 Black Hawk during a training exercise near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Feb. 28, 2018. The Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team is working to narrow the capability gaps that affect Soldiers — particularly the 100,000 close-combat Soldiers who close with, engage and destroy the enemy. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joshua P. Morris)

FORT BENNING, Ga. — In October 2017, the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team, or CFT, began work to narrow the capability gaps that affect Soldiers — particularly the 100,000 close-combat Soldiers who close with, engage and destroy the enemy.

This is a critical task, as civilian and military leaders alike recognize that the Army is losing the near-peer advantage by being out-ranged, out-gunned and increasingly outdated. Potential adversaries and even private industry have been fielding new capabilities much faster than the Army.

The team has had some early success with the implementation of the Infantry One-Station Unit Training transformation and the requirement approval for the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular, or ENVG-B, device. In particular, the ENVG-B requirement was written and approved in 30 days. The average time it takes the Army to approve requirements is two to three years.

The Soldier Lethality CFT is doing exactly what was intended at the outset: to have warfighters and developers work together to prepare capability documents that enable the rapid delivery of capabilities to the warfighter, and to inform a potential program of record.

The ongoing efforts of the Soldier Lethality CFT will be the focus of a Warriors Corner presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 3:20-4:00 p.m. Eastern time, as part of the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

“The Army’s fundamental responsibility is to equip, train and field Soldiers with the tools and resources to engage and destroy the enemy,” said Brig. Gen. David Hodne, Soldier Lethality CFT director. “Soldiers must have capabilities that increase lethality, mobility, situational awareness and protection while countering threats. New systems will be designed to employ emerging technologies to ensure our Soldiers have a decisive advantage over potential adversaries.

“Our CFT has been given the task to develop requirements informed by experimentation and technical demonstrations — through teaming, agility and rapid Soldier feedback,” Hodne explained. “This enables informed decision-making by Army leadership for potential programs of record in order to regain our overmatch over near-peer competitors. We have all the right people in the organization; from warfighters, program management, finance, testing, science and technology and others. That was the original intent for the creation of the CFTs.”

Currently, the Lethality team is working on three lines of effort: the ENVG-B, the Next Generation Squad Weapons, and the Adaptive Soldier Architecture. Of the three, the ENVG-B program is closest to fielding, with devices expected to be in the hands of Soldiers in 2019.

“The ENVG-B was developed based on an urgent operational requirement from U.S. Army Forces Command,” said Col. Chris Schneider, project manager for Soldiers Sensors and Lasers. “They were seeking a capability that provided both night vision and thermal sensing capability with stereoscopic binocular depth perception to increase mobility and improve visual confidence in varying lighting present on the modern battlefield during day and night operations. It also had to give Soldiers increased mobility and situational awareness through a heads up display of friendly and enemy locations.”

The ENVG-B is a digital system that allows for significant capability growth and the ability to network sensors and other situational awareness systems such as NETT Warrior, Small Arms Fire Control, range finding systems, and any information transmitted across the tactical network.

“The ENVG-B utilizes the same wireless technology to communicate with the Nett Warrior system and is designed for full compatibility with future synthetic training systems to facilitate Soldiers training and fighting with the same equipment,” said Col. Travis Thompson, Soldier Lethality CFT chief of staff.

To meet future warfighter needs, the CFT has made significant progress in the development of the Next Generation Squad Weapons. The first of these weapons will be the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle, or NG-SAR. The NG-SAR is the planned replacement for the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon for the 100,000 Soldiers of the close-combat force.

To meet future warfighter needs, the CFT has made significant progress in the development of the Next Generation Squad Weapons, or NGSW. The first of these weapons will be the Next Generation Squad Weapon – Automatic Rifle, or NGSW-AR, which will be followed by the Next Generation Squad Weapon – Rifle, or NGSW-R. The NGSW-AR will replace the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW, in the Automatic Rifleman Role, and the NGSW-R will replace the M4/M41 Carbine in Brigade Combat Teams.

“The NGSW-AR is the first in a series of capabilities to modernize the weapons of the dismounted maneuver force,” explained Col. Elliott Caggins, project manager, Soldier Weapons. “NGSW capitalizes on advancing technologies to provide increased performance at range, integrated Squad Fire Control (S-FC) systems, improved ergonomics of the weapon, lightweight case technologies, signature suppression capabilities and Intelligent and powered rail designs through systems integration.”

The goal of NGSW is to improve lethality, mobility and situational awareness of the dismounted infantryman, scout and engineer to overcome our nation’s adversaries and win on the battlefield.

“By incorporating frequent Soldier touchpoints in the development and acquisition strategy of the system, the Army is ensuring the Soldier, weapon, ammunition and fire control combined-system function as needed and are optimized,” Caggins finished.

The most complex effort ongoing for the CFT is the work being done with the Adaptive Soldier Architecture, or ASA.

The architecture is a concept of treating the Soldier as a system much like a tank or an aircraft. It ensures that systems are integrated with the Soldier rather than added to the Soldier.

“With this new architecture, we want to provide adaptive and responsive leap-ahead capability to our Soldiers that results in an innovative, collaborative, and cross-functional culture to drives advanced capabilities into the squad to support current and future priorities,” explained Thompson.

The ASA establishes power, data, connection and transfer standards to the Soldier and their equipment, treating the Soldier the same as an integrated combat platform.

“What’s vitally important about the architecture is that it facilitates technology insertion and Soldier integration through enhanced communication with industry that will enable the advanced capability that our Soldiers require to defeat our current and future threats, and facilitate future technology growth and capability integration across the Soldier and squad,” Thompson added.

NY Army National Guard Runs Infantry Reclassification Training Course

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

CAMP SMITH, N.Y. — Ten Army National Guard Soldiers from the Northeast, who originally were not infantrymen, are now qualified to wear the sky blue cord and crossed rifles of the Infantry after completing a three-week reclassification course.

Conducted by the New York Army National Guard’s 106th Regiment Regional Training Institute, the three-week class is designed to turn Soldiers with a variety of other military occupational specialties into Infantry Soldiers.

US Army Spc. Joshua Yajcaji a native of Brick, N.J., assigned to Company B, 1-114th Infantry Regiment, in a security position after dismounting a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from to Detachment 2, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation, at the start Infantry reclassification course 18-002 final field training exercise.

Course 18-002 began on Aug. 3, 2018, with 15 candidates and graduated 10 infantrymen on Aug. 17, 2018. Three of the graduates were New York Army National Guard members.

Starting October 2018, the 106th RTI will be one of only six locations where Soldiers can attend the reclassification and other Infantry courses.

Army National Guard Soldiers from the Northeast Region at Infantry reclassification course 18-002 ruck march in the mountains.

“It takes a special person to want a chance to become an Infantry Soldier, to fight for your country and loved ones at home and asking nothing in return,” said Staff Sgt. John Dustman, the senior course instructor at the RTI and 25-year combat veteran.

“I don’t expect those who graduate this course to become experts on the Infantry, but I expect after what they go through they should have it inside to always try and push through at all times,” said Dustman.

Army National Guard Soldiers from the Northeast Region at Infantry reclassification course 18-002 storm out of the belly of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter from Detachment 2, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation into positions during their final field training exercise.

The Infantry is an extremely physically demanding occupation and only accepts Soldiers into its reclassification course who request the change and are excelling in their military duties like the Army physical test, marksmanship, and driver’s qualifications.

Some Soldiers are drawn to the physically demanding portion of the job, like Spc. Michael Labonte, a motor vehicle operator assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 143rd Infantry Regiment, Rhode Island Army National Guard.

Spc. Michael Labonte a resident of Smithfield, R.I., assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, takes cover before a mock assault.

“I needed something that would let me be out in the field with my fellow Soldiers,” said Labonte, who is a resident of Smithfield, Rhode Island.

He decided to make the job switch because in his current role as a motor vehicle operator, he mostly did paperwork and inspections.

“The course is the most challenging thing I have done in my four years in the military,” said Labonte.

Spc. Brandon Weston, a resident of Buffalo, N.Y., assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, prepares to take aim with a Machine Gun, 7.62 mm, M240.

Soldiers also spend a large amount of time in a classroom setting to become knowledgeable on the duties they need to perform as modern-day Infantry Soldiers.

“There is a lot of good knowledge going around and a lot of good guys here,” said Spc. Michael A. Shriver, a prior-service Marine assigned to 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, New York Army National Guard.

Army National Guard Soldiers from the Northeast Region at Infantry reclassification course 18-002 ruck march down a mountain.

Students learn to master some of the Infantry’s weapons systems like the Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun and the M240 machine gun, while familiarizing themselves with other systems like the M320 grenade launcher and the M16 rifle with the M203 grenade launcher attachment.

They are also taught current scientific strategies on how to maintain a peak level of physical fitness that included safety considerations while working out, injury control, environmental considerations, and other techniques.

Spc. Zachary Pisani a native of Boston, Mass., assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, takes aim while concealed behind a tree.

Fitness is a big concern for Infantry Soldiers since they train and operate with a high-level of physical activity.

“The ruck marches, loaded with at least 45 pounds of gear, and the Infantry 5-mile run were the most difficult part,” said Spc. Movado A. McKoy from Queens, a logistics specialist with 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, New York Army National Guard.

What surprised McKoy was just how effective the instructions, tactics and procedures were at this level.

“The lessons we were taught trained us on how to tactically move in densely wooded areas,” said McKoy. “I want this occupation to prove to myself that I can do it.”

Army National Guard Soldiers from the Northeast Region at Infantry reclassification course 18-002, along with course support staff, receive a safety brief for the CH-47 Chinook helicopter before flying out for their final field training exercise.

Ten of the 15 Soldiers who started the course made it to the final task, a 48-hour-straight field training exercise, or FTX, in the mountains and woods at Camp Smith. That task was all that stood in their way to earn the sky blue U.S. Army Infantry colors and badge.

Camp Smith is a military installation of the New York Army National Guard in Cortlandt Manor, about 30 miles north of New York City. It consists of 1,900 acres with training assets and simulators.

Spc. Brandon Weston assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment U.S., and Army Spc. Brandon Weston to B Company, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, scramble for positions during a mock assault.

During the FTX, students go out as a platoon and are led by two of the course instructors. They move tactically throughout the woods while going up against role-playing enemy combatants made up of their course instructors and handpicked Soldiers.

“The two-day FTX was designed to test all they had been training on, and what they will required to enter the Infantry,” said Staff Sgt. Morgen P. Sealy, the course manager and an Afghanistan combat veteran.

Sealy explained their biggest challenge is that a lot of the units do not prep their students for a condensed and intense course like this.”The best part of the course is seeing the progression in the students from day one till when we get to the field,” said Sealy.

“We want heart, willingness to learn, self-motivation, the desire and the determination to succeed,” Dustman said. “My personal expectation is that after this course they keep learning the craft even more.”

Story and photos: CPL Nnaemeka Onyeagwa, New York National Guard. Photos of Infantry reclassification course 18-002 final field training exercise were taken at Camp Smith Training Site, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., Aug. 13, 2018.

What Sort Of Man Reads Infantry?

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

For decades, Infantry Magazine was the professional journal of the grunt. Printed by the Infantry Center, it facilitated outreach to members of the branch, informed on modernization efforts and served as a platform for professional writing. This ad promoting the publication, was printed during the early 70s heyday of men’s pulp magazines, with their lurid covers, promising to satisfy an appetite for life.

I love the combat ace look, with ascot, starched OG-107 fatigues, aviator shades and leather gloves. The only thing missing is a Vietnamese Ranger badge or jump wings, and direct embroidery.

The text reads:

What sort of man reads Infantry?

He’s the guy who’s always there when the going gets tough. Cool, self-assured and thoroughly in control of the situation, he makes the difference no matter what team he’s on. A profile of INFANTRY readers shows that 98% have specialized skills. Taste patterns in clothing reflect remarkable similarity and conformity, leaning towards the conservative. The IM reader is widely traveled, 97% having traveled abroad or resides in a foreign land. An outdoorsman at heart, he is the bon vivant of cuisine au natrual (sic). The INFANTRY buff is well informed and willing to go out of the way for a superior product.

Army Combat Fitness Test Set to Become New PT Test of Record in Late 2020

Monday, July 9th, 2018

FORT EUSTIS, Va. — Army senior leaders have approved a new strenuous fitness test designed to better prepare Soldiers for combat tasks, reduce injuries and lead to ample cost savings across the service.


The six-event readiness assessment, called the Army Combat Fitness Test, is intended to replace the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test, which has been around since 1980.

Beginning October 2020, all Soldiers will be required to take the new gender- and age-neutral test. Before that, field testing set to begin this October will allow the Army to refine the test, with initial plans for up to 40,000 Soldiers from all three components to see it.

“The Army Combat Fitness Test will ignite a generational, cultural change in Army fitness and become a cornerstone of individual Soldier combat readiness,” said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commander of the Army’s Center of Initial Military Training. “It will reduce attrition and it will reduce musculoskeletal injuries and actually save, in the long run, the Army a heck of a lot of money.”

At least six years of significant research went into the test’s development as researchers looked at what Soldiers must do fitness-wise for combat.

“Throughout that research and testing, the goal was to provide our leaders with a tough, realistic, field-expedient assessment of the physical component of their Soldiers’ individual readiness,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey. “The ACFT is scientifically-validated and will help better prepare our Soldiers to deploy, fight, and win on any future battlefield.”

Roughly 2,000 Soldiers have already taken the test, previously called the Army Combat Readiness Test. They also provided feedback as part of the Army Training and Doctrine Command and Forces Command pilots that began last year at several installations.

“The current PT test is only a 40 percent predictor of success for performing in combat and executing warrior tasks and battle drills,” Frost said. “This test is approximately an 80 percent predictor of performing based on our ability to test the physical components of combat fitness.”


While the ACFT still keeps the 2-mile run as its final event, it introduces five others to provide a broad measurement of a Soldier’s physical fitness. The events are completed in order and can take anywhere from 45 to 55 minutes for a Soldier to finish.


— Strength deadlift: With a proposed weight range of 120 to 420 pounds, the deadlift event is similar to the one found in the Occupational Physical Assessment Test, or OPAT, which is given to new recruits to assess lower-body strength before they are placed into a best-fit career field. The ACFT will require Soldiers to perform a three-repetition maximum deadlift (only one in OPAT) and the weights will be increased. The event replicates picking up ammunition boxes, a wounded battle buddy, supplies or other heavy equipment.


— Standing power throw: Soldiers toss a 10-pound ball backward as far as possible to test muscular explosive power that may be needed to lift themselves or a fellow Solider up over an obstacle or to move rapidly across uneven terrain.

— Hand-release pushups: In this event, Soldiers start in the prone position and do a traditional pushup, but when at the down position they release their hands and arms from contact with the ground and then reset to do another pushup. This allows for additional upper body muscles to be exercised.


— Sprint/drag/carry: As they dash 25 meters five times up and down a lane, Soldiers will perform sprints, drag a sled weighing 90 pounds, and then hand-carry two 40-pound kettlebell weights. This can simulate pulling a battle buddy out of harm’s way, moving quickly to take cover, or carrying ammunition to a fighting position or vehicle.


— Leg tuck: Similar to a pullup, Soldiers lift their legs up and down to touch their knees/thighs to their elbows as many times as they can. This exercise strengthens the core muscles since it doubles the amount of force required compared to a traditional situp.


— 2-mile run: Same event as on the current test. In the ACFT, run scores are expected to be a bit slower due to all of the other strenuous activity.

The ACFT gauges Soldiers on the 10 components of physical fitness: muscular strength and endurance, power, speed, agility, aerobic endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination and reaction time. The current test only measures two: muscular and aerobic endurance.


The vast majority of policies with the APFT will likely be carried over to the new test.

Scoring could be similar with 100 points for each event for a maximum of 600. Minimum scores, however, may change depending on a Soldier’s military occupational specialty. Soldiers in more physically demanding jobs may see tougher minimums, similar to how OPAT evaluates new recruits.

“The more physically challenging your MOS, the more you’ll be required to do at the minimum levels,” said Michael McGurk, director of research and analysis at CIMT.

Another difference is that there are no alternate events planned for this test, he said.

Soldiers will still get adequate time to rehabilitate from an injury. But under a new “deploy-or-be-removed” policy, Defense Secretary James Mattis said in February that troops who are non-deployable for more than 12 months will be processed for administrative separation or referred to the disability evaluation system.

“Generally speaking, somebody who has a long-term permanent profile that precludes taking a fitness test may not be retainable for duty in the Army,” McGurk said.

At about $20 million, the new test will be more costly for the Army to conduct. A single lane of equipment at full retail value is about $1,200. A battalion set of equipment will range from $12,000 to $20,000. Those prices will likely drop as the Army buys more sets at wholesale.

Equipment should last about 10 years, meaning it will cost less than $3 per Soldier over time.

“If I have a femoral neck fracture in the hip of a Soldier, that injury will cost the government about $1 million,” McGurk said. “So, if I avoid 20 of those injuries a year I’ve paid for the program for the next 10 years for equipment. The potentials on return are very significant.”


The Army estimates $4 billion is spent each year due to injuries, non-deployable Soldiers, accidents and other health-related costs.

As part of its culture change, the Army is building a Holistic Health and Fitness System to produce healthier and fitter Soldiers. The new test is one piece of the system, in addition to the OPAT, the improvement of fitness centers, and healthier options at chow halls.

Army researchers studied foreign militaries that have rolled out similar holistic programs and found them to be highly successful.

The Australian army, for instance, introduced it to their basic training and saw a roughly 30 percent reduction in injuries.

“Do I know we’re going to have a 25-30 percent reduction? No, but I certainly hope we will,” McGurk said. “We think [the test is] well worth it and it’s the right thing to do for Soldiers in any case.”

Feedback from Soldiers so far has also been overwhelmingly positive.

“As we all know, physical fitness training can become rather monotonous if people train the same way,” McGurk said. “So, a lot of them saw this as a great change and how it required them to use different muscles.”

While some Soldiers may disagree with replacing the current test, McGurk said that fitness has come a long way from 40 years ago when the APFT was first developed.

“In 1980, running shoes were relatively a new invention,” he said. “The Army was still running in boots for the PT test back then. Change is difficult, but we’re an Army that adapts well to change.”


In early June, senior leaders outlined what the Army should focus on over the next decade to retain overmatch against potential adversaries.

The 2028 vision statement, signed by the Army’s secretary and chief of staff, calls for modernized equipment, particularly the development of autonomous systems. It also stresses the need for physically fit and mentally tough Soldiers to fight and win in high-intensity conflict.

“Technology is going to be dominant and we need a lot of things that we’re looking at through modernization,” Frost said. “In the end, you still need the United States Army Soldier to be able to seize and hold terrain.”

The ACFT is a foundational method, leaders believe, that the Army can use to start a new era of fitness and obtain Soldier overmatch in combat.

“The current leadership … has really coalesced and understands the importance of fitness itself and the importance of the PT test to drive that change in culture,” Frost said. “They’ve made the decision and we’re ready to execute.”

By Sean Kimmons, Army News Service

Don Purdy Rules to LIVE By (Don’t Forget Nothin!)

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

This list of rules by Retired Army CSM Don Purdy (Ranger Hall of Fame) has been passed around for years.

1. Shoot from the shoulder. Pistols are back up weapons. Learn to shoot well. Marksmanship is critical.

2. Carry all the ammo and water you can on your person.

3. Don’t lean weapons agains trees and walls.

4. Weapons on safe until its time to kill.

5. Machine gunners should be corporals.

6. Guns must be trained to maneuver on there (sic) own. Crew drills are critical.

7. Reload drills are critical.

8. Firing in the blind and dead gunner drills must be executed.

9. Soldiers must know how to use the weapons properly and everyone elses.

10. Train on foreign weapons when possible.

11. Camouflage! It works.

12. A bayonet is a weapon. Train your soldiers to use it to kill the enemy.

13. Do Combatives. Also rifle P.T.

14. When in the defense or preparing one never get more than arms reach from your weapon.

15. Keep shirts and K-Pots on when digging.

16. Don’t lay ammo in the dirt. Carry sand bags so you can lay magazines and other ammo on the bags when in defense.

17. Soldiers need to know basic demo.

18. Use VS–17 panel for daytime signal that you have no verbal commo.

19. Handling of POWs and medevac must be practiced constantly.

20. Execute withdrawals under pressure. Live fire when possible.

21. Silence is golden. Learn to whisper. Even on radios.

22. When in the heat of battle leaders talk others shut up.

23. Stay off the radio. No unnecessary chatter.

24. Use whistles, star clusters as back up signals.

25. When in a MOUT Defense have a destruction plan in case of a withdrawal under pressure.

26. Wheel barrels (sic) are great in a MOUT environment.

27. Don’t forget! Sanitation Plan.

28. Always think dirty. Think about what you would do if the doo doo hit the fan right now.

29. Move like a cat (rat?) and don’t hesitate.

30. Read the battlefield.

31. Do bang! drills. This teaches soldiers to react to every contact instantly. In less than one second rounds should be going back at the enemy.

32. Hip pocket training is excellent. All leaders need to know how to do this properly and efficiently.

33. NCOs TRAIN Soldiers!

34. Discipline, Discipline, Discipline. Its too late when the fighting begins.

35. Drill & Ceremony is important. Do it right.

36. Uniformity is important.

37. If you think something is wrong it is.

38. Be prepared to take charge.

39. Not everyone can be an Infantry soldier. Get rid of the weak.

40. Nothing out of a ruck sack except what is necessary.

41. Eat one thing at a time and immediately pack it up.

42. Trash goes back in the rucksack (MRE).

43. Be ruthless on those who leave equipment or ammo on the battlefield.

44. Keep the plan simple and violent.

45. Smoke doesn’t stop bullets.

46. Breaching tools are a last resort to breach.

47. Never pass a threat.

48. Don’t daisy chain claymores.

49. Train with live grenades as much as possible.

50. Train soldiers to react to bumping into enemy personnel in close quarters.

51. Talk to your soldiers about the reality of there (sic) mission (Life and Death).

52. NCOs must never back down in front of there (sic) soldiers.

53. Never reduce standards of discipline when in a hostile environment. Be ruthless.

54. Leading from the rear is like pushing spaghetti up hill.

55. NODs on during darkness.

56. Improvise when necessary. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

57. Field hygiene is important.

58. If you want to know what the enemy is doing think about what you are doing.

59. Treat your enemy as if he is the baddest of the bad. Do not underestimate him.

60. Always use boot laces not zippers.

61. Boots stay on. Only remove when necessary one boot at a time.

62. Infantrymen must have the heart of a lion. Leaders (NCOs) must develop that heart. The infantry has no room for the weak or faint of heart.

63. Your mission is to close with and destroy the enemy with any means possible. You must live in the environment on the ground. The mission has priority. The fight comes first then the recovery of dead and wounded.

64. Always plan resupply and medevac procedures thoroughly.

65. Keep the bi-pods down on MGs and SAWs when moving.

66. Place two tracer rounds in magazines first so you will know when your (sic) about to have to change mags.

67. Teach your squad leaders how to direct guns with tracers.

Never smile for photographs.Always keep things simple. Complicated plans don’t work out well.

Lastly I wish to point out that the role of the NCO is awesome. You own the soldier. Train them for war not for peace. Be hard but fair. Never forget where you came from. Learn from failure and confess when your (sic) wrong.

There is no room for boot licking, gut eating, ticket punching NCOs in the infantry. Police your ranks of self servers. There (sic) scum of the earth.

Don Purdy
P.S. Root Hog or Die
March or Die
Get tough or Die

More rules to Live By

1. When preparing to move don’t let everyone get up at the same time.

2. When searching enemy bodies strip them and put the clothing in a trash bag.

3. Before assaulting across a kill zone throw hand grenades.

4. When moving across the kill zone remove weapons from enemy bodies.

5. Gun crews do not fire claymores.

6. Sqd leaders fire on semi during an ambush so they can pick up the fire if there is a lull. Team leaders also if it is a platoon size ambush.

7. Weapons will cook off when hot. Be careful.

8. Rear Security!

9. Use snipers whenever possible. Good for your moral (sic), bad for the enemies.Fix Bayonets!If possible carry concealed back up radio.Make the enemy die for his country.

Lastly always quit (sic) yourselves like Soldiers.

Don Purdy

Transcribed by Brady Moore from CSM Purdy’s handwritten notes and shared on

The Baldwin Articles – Leadership: Acting Like a Leader

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

When asked what experience had been most critical in preparing him for senior command in WWII Dwight Eisenhower allegedly replied, “I studied drama under MacArthur for three years.” Now, I suspect Eisenhower thought that MacArthur was a drama queen but the teaching point is that leaders always have to ACT like leaders. To be clear, we are NOT referring to Hollywood style acting. Military leaders will be ineffective if they are ever perceived to be “faking it” by their soldiers. There are no movie magic special effects, convenient plot devices, stunt doubles or reshooting of scenes in military leadership. Rather, it is important that leaders meet their subordinate’s expectations and “walk the talk” while always acting accordingly.

This dynamic means that leaders do not have the luxury of entertaining their own emotions at the expense of the organization. Despite any personal misgivings, a leader has to display confidence. This is especially important if he or she does not feel confident at all. Leaders have to motivate organizations even if they are personally unmotivated in the moment. A good leader must project calm strength, a positive attitude, singular focus and dedication to mission – particularly in the most adverse circumstances. In other words, good leadership demands that individual leaders set the right example and tone. This is a military fact, not some exercise in esoteric navel-gazing. For good or ill, a unit will reflect the attitude of the leader. A weak leader who cannot live up to the leadership role – if not replaced – will inevitably foster an undisciplined and unfocused organization destined to fail in combat.

A while back, I told the story about how – under threat of Article 15 – I was kicked out of an infantry battalion in Germany and transferred to the Divisional Pathfinder Detachment. That kind of “rehabilitative” transfer rarely happens. How was I so lucky? With due respect to Paul Harvey (for you old timers who know who that was), here is the rest of the story. Many factors lined up in my favor in this situation. Most importantly, my Platoon Sergeant and First Sergeant saw some potential in me. Damned if I know why. I had recently returned from the 3rd Infantry Division’s PNCOC or Primary Noncommissioned Officers Course. PNCOC was only open to combat arms in those days. PLDC or Primary Leadership Development Course started later and was for combat support and combat service support. Eventually the two were combined as PLDC.

PNCOC was both a classic NCO Academy with room and uniform inspections in garrison and patrolling for tactical leadership training. This was the winter of 1975-76, and the instructors were all Vietnam combat veterans so our patrolling in the German forests had a very jungle rather than Warsaw Pact flavor. I loved the patrolling but hated the garrison portion. On graduation day, I was in my dress greens when one of the cadre grabbed me to buff one of the hallways in the school building one last time. I was pissed. Lining that hallway were some very sharp wooden replicas of the combat arms unit crests of the Division, each about 10” x 16” square. Since I was alone, I stole the one for my unit, the 15th Infantry, and put it in my duffel bag.

When I got back to my battalion, I figured it was just a matter of time before I was tracked down. There had only been about four of us from my battalion in the class. So I showed the crest to my First Sergeant and told him why I took it. About that time, my Company Commander came back to the orderly room. The First Sergeant said, “Hey Sir, Baldwin just got back from PNCOC and they gave him this for being Honor Grad!” and he showed the Captain the crest. The Captain congratulated me and the First Sergeant had one of the company clerks immediately hang the crest right next to the orderly room door. I do not think PNCOC ever came looking for it and it probably hung there in the unit for years afterwards. It was a very nice crest.

However, the First Sergeant knew that I was a poor fit for a mechanized infantry unit and it was probably just a matter of time before I got into real trouble. Fortunately, he and the NCOIC of the Pathfinder Detachment were drinking buddies. The detachment desperately needed airborne infantry bodies but was not a priority fill as compared to the infantry battalions. Even more importantly, my Company Commander was an aviator rated officer. This was before aviation became a branch. As a practical matter that meant that the Captain had to get two hours of flying time in Hueys per month to maintain his rating. He knew and had flown with the Aviation Battalion’s leadership while in Germany and in a couple of cases had flown in Vietnam with the same guys.

The truth is that when they brought me into the Commander’s office and gave me the Hobson’s “choice” of an Article 15 or a transfer the fix was already in place. My Company Commander actually supported the move and had already personally worked out the transfer between the two Battalion Commanders. I know this because after a couple of beers at the Rod and Gun the First Sergeant told me the whole story about six months later. All that being true, then one might ask why the show…why the drama? The answer is simple. My leadership understood how important it was to act like leaders. They could not very well “reward” me for getting into a fight with another three-striper. I needed to be taught a lesson. Probably more importantly, they were sending a message to the rest of the unit. Standards have to be enforced and discipline maintained. My Company Commander probably was angry with me, but he was not as angry as he wanted me and the other soldiers in the unit to think he was. He was being a good leader.

From him and many others afterwards, I learned the important lesson that leaders rarely get to act the way they might actually feel but instead must act in a way that is of greatest benefit to the unit and the mission. I used that example to guide me countless times over the years – especially when delivering the classic “ass chewing.” The trick is to make it count by inflicting pain without doing permanent damage. As a case in point, I had a young cook attached to my SF Company (-) in a West African country in the mid-90s. The young man had slipped off the Host Nation base alone to hook up with some local girl the night before. His NCOIC brought him in after he and my SGM had already had their turns. I was not mad at the kid. He was young and stupid just like I had once been. And most of us have had our own ill-advised adventures with the most powerful substance known to mankind.

Therefore, I proceeded to verbally melt him down to his component atoms – for his own good and the good of the unit. It was one of my best ass chewings ever and I wish we had filmed it for future professional study. Still, in the end, I knew that in a couple of days the sting of my words would fade and the lure of that young lady would not. So, my SGM and the NCOIC arranged to protect the young man from his impulses and to ensure he would have closer adult supervision for the rest of the deployment. I do not know if that young man benefited personally and professionally from that experience the way I did in Germany years earlier. But I do know that we successfully kept him out of further trouble and reinforced the message to the rest of the unit so that no one else tried anything similar. I have no doubt that anyone who has been in the military any length of time will have seen leaders who do it right and some who get it wrong. Bottom line: Good leaders must always act like leaders to the satisfaction of their bosses, their peers and their greatest and most important critics – the soldiers in the unit.

Army to Extend OSUT for Infantry Soldiers

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

WASHINGTON — In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. Changes to the program are meant to increase Soldier readiness, making them more lethal and proficient before they depart for their first duty assignment, according to the Infantry School commandant, Col. Townley R. Hedrick.

Col. Jackson J. Seims relinquishes command of the 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade to Col. Thomas J. Siebold Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at Kanell Field, Fort Benning, Ga. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence)

The new OSUT program will include expanded weapons training, increased vehicle-platform familiarization, extensive combatives training and a 40-hour combat-lifesaver certification course, said Hedrick.

Further, the change will include increased time in the field during both day and night operations and include an increased emphasis on drill and ceremony maneuvers.


For the past 44 years, Infantry Soldiers were trained in a 14-week program of instruction. Ten weeks were allocated to basic military training, and an additional four were reserved for training Infantry-specific skills, Hedrick said. The Infantry career field makes up approximately 15 to 17 percent of the total force.

U.S. Army Infantry Soldiers-in-training assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade, begin their first day of Infantry one-station unit training (OSUT) February 10, 2017 on Sand Hill, Fort Benning, Ga. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence)

Discussions about changing OSUT began shortly after Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis identified the need to re-establish readiness and build a more lethal Infantry force, Hedrick said. And the Army Vision, recently published by Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, reinforces the defense secretary’s priority.

“Extending OSUT is about increasing our readiness and preparing for the future,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said. “This pilot program is the first step toward achieving our vision of the Army of 2028. With more time to train on critical Infantry tasks, we’ll achieve greater lethality.”

In response to the increased focus on readiness, specifically within the Infantry force, leadership within the U.S. Army Infantry School approached the 198th Infantry Brigade, which trains all Army Infantry forces, and asked what could be done to make better Infantry Soldiers.

“We asked them if they had a longer training pipeline, what could they do with it,” Hedrick said.

In turn, the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Infantry School started a combined effort with the 198th Infantry Brigade and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to develop an improved 21-week OSUT program. After consulting with the Army chief of staff, however, the combined OSUT team was directed to extend the new program to 22 weeks and include combat water survival training, he said.

The preliminary 22-week OSUT pilot program is slated to start this July with a graduation date scheduled for December, the commandant added.

The new 22-week OSUT should begin in 2019, sometime between July and October.

With the upcoming 22-week course, the Infantry School has already identified what new Soldiers will be part of the improved training, Hedrick said.

“U.S. Army Recruiting Command has already gone back to those identified personnel, regenerated their contract, and let them know that they would be part of the first classes to execute a new and improved training program,” Hedrick said.


Under the new OSUT program, Soldiers will get more training with their M4 rifle and increased hands-on experience with the M240 machine gun and the M249 squad automatic weapon.

“So across all the Infantry weapons, they will get more bullets,” Hedrick said. “And they will also shoot more at night, rather than just doing a day familiarization fire.”

In addition to increased weapons training, Soldiers will receive more field training experience, including tactical training repetitions that focus more on squad formations during day and night operations, he said. The goal is to help trainees understand where they fall within a fire team or rifle squad and make them more proficient while operating in the field.

“We looked at land navigation and individual Soldier skills,” Hedrick said. “Under the new course, a Soldier will do an individual day and night land navigation course on their own. They will also do a basic combative certification. That improves the mental and physical toughness of Soldiers coming through the Infantry OSUT.”

Additionally, the Infantry School has added six days of vehicle platform training to the new program. Under the 14-week program, Soldiers only received one day of training with their assigned vehicle. During the new course, Soldiers assigned to a Stryker or Bradley unit will learn how to drive and perform maintenance on their assigned vehicle.

A U.S. Army Infantry Soldier-in-training assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade, engages the opposing force (OPFOR) May 2, 2017, with a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) on a Stryker to provide support-by-fire during a squad training exercise, Fort Benning, Ga. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence)

Furthermore, a more significant emphasis on drill and ceremony has been built into the new curriculum.

“It is all about conditioning, following commands and working as a unit, so you will see an increasing level of discipline through drill and ceremony,” the commandant said. “We think this gets us to the objective of a more expert and proficient Soldier.”

Changes to the program create an extended and more gradual training process to help decrease injuries caused by lack of nutrition or poor conditioning, Hedrick said

“We’ve developed a set of metrics, with the U.S. Army Research Institute for Behavioral and Social Science Solutions to try and evaluate how the Soldiers are doing during the 22-week pilot program versus the 14-week program,” Hedrick said. “We’ve got an evaluation plan to try and look at ourselves and see if the product coming out has an improved proficiency — like we think it will.”


With an increased time of training, the Infantry School must expand from five to eight battalions to ensure the same annual throughput of approximately 17,000 well-trained Soldiers. Fortunately, resources and facilities are available at Fort Benning to support the new program, Hedrick said.

Additionally, the Infantry School has been working with TRADOC to ensure they have enough drill sergeants in place to meet the 2019 launch date for the new 22-week OSUT.

A U.S. Army Infantry Soldier-in-training assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade, rappels off Eagle Tower March 4, 2017, on Sand Hill, Fort Benning, Ga. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence)

Under the current 14-week program, three drill sergeants are responsible for training a platoon of 60 Soldiers. For the 22-week program, the Infantry School is looking to augment OSUT companies with six additional Infantry instructors.

Overall, the additional instructors provide a better student-to-instructor ratio during certain aspects of the course, the commandant said.

At the conclusion of the 22-week pilot, the OSUT team will review the results and determine what parts of the program need to be re-sequenced. The pilot will also be used to determine the list of tasks assigned to each instructor, Hedrick said.

In addition to the changes to the Infantry School’s curriculum, the Army is looking at extending other OSUT programs. Currently, the U.S. Army Armor School and U.S. Army Engineer School are performing internal analyses of their curricula to determine what resources will be needed to extend their own programs.

“Extending Infantry OSUT will allow us to allocate more time to honing the necessary skills to provide greater capability to our commanders,” Dailey said.

With our first major change to Infantry training in 40 years, he said, we are investing in future Army readiness, which will ensure we are prepared to deploy, fight and win our Nation’s wars when called upon to do so.

By Devon L. Suits, Army News Service

Detachment B-52 (Project Delta) Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade

Monday, June 18th, 2018

When I joined the Army in 1985, most of my senior NCO leadership had served in Vietnam. They were men who had seen combat and we hung on their every word as we trained.

In the late 80s, I served in a LRSD in Germany. We turned to photocopies of a document produced by the Vietnam-era Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group’s Det B-52 aka Project Delta called ‘Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade.’


We poured over its 32 pages which were gold to us, offering guidance on how to configure equipment and conduct ourselves on patrols. Some of the information was outdated due to equipment changes, other data was not applicable because we faced a different foe, on different terrain. However, the basics remained the same. Around the same time, 1st Bn 7th SFG(A) released up update called ODB-720 Tips. Unfortunately, it was much more difficult to share information pre-internet and I never saw a copy until I was on a 3rd Group SOT-A in the early-90s.

The original is available on the web from Chapter 31 of the Special Forces Association at Whether you’re reading from a historical perspective or a professional one, there are still a few gems in there.