Fort Moore | Infantry OSUT

Hooah!! Welcome back! Week 20 is the last week of major training exercise for your Soldier’s time in Infantry OSUT ! It’s time to put everything your Soldier has learned to the real test – the End of Cycle Field Training Exercise (FTX). 

WEEK TWENTY EXPECTATIONS: GOLD PHASE

The final FTX in Week 20 of Infantry OSUT is the culmination of the previous 19 weeks of training and physical preparation. Your Soldier will be training in the field for five straight days while constantly receiving missions to complete with their Platoons. During this week they will be in a tactical posture at all times, which means that no matter what they are doing or what time it is they are in a combat simulation. Even if they are not actively completing a mission or engaging an enemy, they will be practicing a strict regimen of military procedures in everything they do. Eating, sleeping, and even using the latrine has a defined protocol that must be followed as the enemy could attack at any time. 

END OF CYCLE FIELD TRAINING EXERCISE 

This is a higher level of immersion than the Soldiers have experienced at this point in their training. In previous events, training takes place in defined areas known as “lanes”. A lane has a specific training objective and is limited to the time and space required to achieve the end state. During FTX, this time and space is continuous across the five days. The Soldiers resolve will be tested at every hour of the day as they transition from mission, to preparation and more missions.

This week, your Soldiers day might look like this. Training starts before first light with every member of the Platoon being roused and moving to the security perimeter of their patrol base. This is in preparation for a possible enemy attack, as the hour before dawn is the optimal time for ambushing an enemy while they are drowsy and have poor visibility of their surroundings. Once the sun has started to rise, the Platoon will take turns cleaning their weapons, conducting personal hygiene, and quickly eating a cold MRE. While this takes place, at least one third of the Soldiers in the platoon are on the security line. These are called the Priorities of Work.

Once the priorities of work are finished, the Platoon receives a mission from their Company Commander. They must plan and execute multiple missions throughout the day using the various skills they have learned throughout Infantry OSUT. They use their land navigation skills to plot a course to their objective, their knowledge of battle drills to conduct attacks and ambushes on a variety of targets, and treat casualties in the aftermath of enemy contact. Throughout the day they conduct priorities of work to refit their food, water, and ammunition, as well as to receive and plan additional missions. Even when they are resting, Soldiers must always be prepared to be attacked by enemy forces known as OPFOR, who roam the training area and receive missions of their own against the friendly forces.

This process continues into the night when the Soldiers take out their PVS-14 Night Vision monoculars and conduct nighttime missions. When they are finally mission complete for the day, your Soldier will occupy a Patrol Base with their Platoon for the night, and repeat the whole process again for four more days.

Upon completion of the last day of training, your Soldier will embark upon a 16-mile foot march from the training area back to their Company Area. They will walk on gravel, dirt, and pavement. They will have to carry all of the Platoon’s equipment and distribute the weight amongst themselves as they go. Once they are completely exhausted after walking for hours, they will finally see the lights of civilization ahead of them. 

Their excitement will rise as they begin to recognize the roads and ranges they have walked many times over the course of their 20 weeks of OSUT. As they turn the bend on Moye Road and begin walking up the last hill, they will be greeted by a cordon of recently graduated Infantry Soldiers who cheer them on as smoke grenades billow and rock music plays from loudspeakers in the trees. Then they will turn into the forest and enter a massive wood and iron gate with the words “Honor Hill” wrought into the railing.

In the small hours of the morning, a massive bonfire will greet the Soldiers as they form up in a circle formation. Waiting for them in the firelight will be all of their leadership from the Platoon Drill Sergeants, to the Brigade Command team. Then they will receive their right of passage ceremony where your Soldier will be officially recognized by their Cadre as an Infantry Soldier. At this point in the cycle, your Soldier has completed all the required training events and challenges put before them. Now, they are ready to finish their time at Infantry OSUT and take their place on the line as a U.S. Army Infantry Soldier. 

There will be many strong emotions that come to the surface during this ceremony, from the simple relief of finally finishing a 16 mile foot march, to the well deserved pride of completing what very few can accomplish in the crucible of Infantry Training. This is the moment when the reality of their accomplishment first begins to set in and your Soldier starts the road to their Turning Blue and Graduation Ceremonies. 

LETTERS FROM HOME = MORALE

In your Letter this week, ask your Soldier how they did at their FTX, and congratulate them on achieving all requirements for graduating from Infantry OSUT. 

If you can’t make it to graduation, there is still time to send your Soldier a Sandboxx Letter congratulating them on this incredible accomplishment, plus you can include a gift card to the Exchange as a last minute graduation gift.

THE MAKING OF YOUR SOLDIER

Stay tuned for more insights into Week Twentyone and beyond. Follow us on social media for the latest updates, letter ideas, and more.

That’s a brief look at the intense but rewarding journey your Soldier is on. Let’s keep supporting them every step of the way!

You can always find me via chat in the Sandboxx app or happiness@sandboxx.us — just ask for Kris, and myself or another teammate will get back to you as soon as we can.

Hooah!

SGM Kris Broadus, U.S. Army (Ret)