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Discussion: First grenades, now land nav...

in: Vector

Mar 5, 2018 6:05 AM # 
...there was an article a few weeks back that said the Army will continue to teach grenade throwing, but that throwing a live grenade the required minimum distance is no longer a Basic Training graduation requirement. Apparently the new generation didn't grow up throwing things, and it takes more hours than the Army has allotted to teach them how to throw.

Mar 6, 2018 3:26 AM # 
Oh. My. Gosh. !! That just takes "sad" to a whole new level!
Mar 8, 2018 12:40 AM # 
It does...and it doesn't. I can't say I ever needed to throw a grenade. Heck, never even got issued one to carry beyond a training version. I enjoyed knowing that I could if I needed to, but that particular skill never quite came in handy for anything besides establishing myself as tactically competent in training. So, is it really a universally-required skill? Not sure that basic land nav is, either. Those who need land nav for their military jobs need much more than the basic training version, and there's a whole group that needs to be able to do it digitally (relating map to video feed).

It does beg the question whether they're dropping just the testing requirement, or the entire experience, though. There is a certain something to joining the club of "land nav training" stories!
Mar 9, 2018 1:37 PM # 
Just can't wrap my head around having a modern military force incapable of doing the most basic of tasks such as spatially visualizing and moving itself around the battlespace without getting into trouble, let alone throwing something!
Mar 12, 2018 3:11 AM # 
Again, Basic Training doesn't tell us anything about what a "modern military force" is trained to do. That happens further down the line, both in the schoolhouse and at unit level, depending on individual and unit specialties. Basic training curriculum just tells us what the Army thought everyone should be exposed to. And given that the nature of warfare has changed since the last overhaul (a lot more forces operating via reach rather than *in* the battlespace), it's probably worth a solid re-evaluation of what skills are needed, and which need to be universal at the most basic level.

Does the Air Force do any land nav during service entry training?
Mar 14, 2018 5:07 AM # 
Yes, very glad Army is still intending to at least expose soldiers to land nav in Basic.

Sadly the Air Force gives far less attention to land nav than the Army, and in answer to your question, Air Force land nav is virtually non-existent unless you happen to be in SERE school or in a tactical discipline. Army seems light years ahead of us in that regard. We didn't have any land nav in my officer field training nor my official AFROTC curriculum. In my one semester of Army ROTC, however, I recall doing land nav at least 2 or 3 times. I would like to see more Air Force investment in developing spatial skills. I had an incident once where my land nav / geospatial skills led me to preventing bombs from being dropped on some SOF forces, so that has stuck w/ me as reason to push for increasing spatial skills in the Air Force.

Sounds like from what you're saying there is still a robust amount of land nav after basic in the Army and that's good to hear.

Outside of that near bombing disaster I've also witnessed multiple other events when we've had serious problems in military operations stemming from someone not being able to navigate and/or interpret a map. Sadly I've also seen several fellow classmates in multiple training courses I've attended get washed out because of their inability to navigate. During one of my recent training courses some instructors said they are seeing more and more trainees coming into the course that don't know how to navigate and there isn't time built into the training course to teach them such basic skills so more students are washing out...they see it as a growing problem.

Certainly an interesting and pressing issue, but yes I see how Basic might not be the answer to all this.
Mar 17, 2018 3:10 AM # 
Interestingly, land nav is where the women entering Ranger School were washing out, or at least that was true a few years ago. I picked up a couple of trainees that way. The problem was that most were not combat arms officers, and thus hadn't spent that much time working on fieldcraft.

Interesting to see how the various services approach who needs to know what, and when. And amazing to me that AF and Navy JROTC have such strong O programs, with hardly any Army JROTC. How does that make any sense?
Mar 18, 2018 1:30 AM # 
Wouldn't have expected either of those--the women range school thing or Army JROTC. Always assumed Army JROTC was pretty strong with the O programs, guess I was wrong. Had no idea.

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