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  • BOLC-II done

    Haven't been on the forums in awhile, but just thought I'd post an update.

    I finished BOLC-II on Dec. 17th, the last BOLC-II class, ever. There was a lot of good training to be had there, but I was amazed at the number of new 2LT's that had a very negative attitude there. The take away from that was the training is only as good as you make it. So make the best of it!!

    IBOLC starts for me on Jan. 10th. Any other forum members going to be there?

    On a safety note, there was a new 2LT there that did not make it through BOLC-II because he was injured while enjoying a night on the town. In spite of all the safety briefs prior to weekends, there was still too much alcohol consumed, and not enough buddy intervention. A real tragedy that could have been avoided.

    On a lighter note, looking forward to leaving the Colorado snow and freezing temps behind, and get back into the Georgia Mud!!

    Hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a fun, safe, and productive New Year!

  • #2
    Re: BOLC-II done

    I was at Sill for that same class, and thought it was a giant waste of time.

    I knew the training was a repeat of what all of us had done before, but I expected my previous courses (BCT/OCS) to be grade school & high school to BOLC 2 being college. I expected an example set for new LTs through extremely strong logistics/organization. I wanted to see highly professional cadre being tough but fair, taking their job seriously, being an example the way they want their officers to be an example for their subordinates. I wanted student leadership to be fully in charge the way it was at OCS. I got nothing close to any of those things.

    For the first four weeks, we trained a couple hours a day & slept the rest of the time. Student leadership was never in charge of anything but counting the folks in formation next to them & passing along information.

    When we finally did train, every last item we did there was a requirement at the commissioning source. If you make me go through the motions on something I've already demonstrated mastery of then I'm going to be bored. If you do it like I'm an 18yo immature private, then I'm going to be annoyed. If you are condescending to students, and everything from unprofessional and unorganized on the best day to inappropriate and insulting toward both students and fellow cadre, then I'm going to start getting a little pissed. I think the whole thing was a waste of my time and millions in taxpayer dollars. I think I'm actually a little bit worse of an officer for having attended than I was before reporting.

    I think if you're getting officers from commissioning sources that don't already know the mandatory POI from those courses, then you need to think about reinforcing and standardization at that level.

    I think the concept of a common core entry level officer course is an outstanding idea. I do think networking with folks coming from different commissioning sources and going to different branches is a good idea. I do think there are some really important common core tasks that all LTs should have. I'm always interested in more leadership development. I just think BOLC 2 was a horrible (even criminal) execution of that concept.

    It could be a superb course. For example...

    We did land nav at least a couple times to get to that point. I have no problem with a refresher, but I've never actually used a plugger and I'd like a familiarization at least with blue force tracker.

    We never talked about call for fire. That's a critical leader task. At least as important as a 9-line, which we also didn't talk about.

    We didn't actually learn convoy operations, we just played a video game with no train up to demonstrate the difficulty of communication while under fire. Okay, got it. I'd like to know how to actually plan and execute a convoy.

    If you're going to shoot thousands of rounds, and have millions of dollars in weapons tied up, then you need to make sure the associated training value is going to be of sufficient value. It can't be what privates do at basic training. It needs to be what officers need to do at their unit to help soldiers not just qualify but actually get better.

    The whole concept of BOLC 2 is a rip off of Marine TBS. One of the things the Marines do well at that course is they do an orientation to each branch. For example, they have actual engineers come in & breach obstacles, build a bridge, etc. They teach student/officers how the branch works, what they can & can't do & how fast, the practical technical & tactical, and what you need to allow for in planning & how to coordinate with them. It might be useful to understand how the people you're supporting or the folks on your right/left/above you operate. As an officer, it's your job to exploit those resources and capabilities to accomplish more than your unit alone can do.

    The Cadre needs work too. If you're going to put young impressionable officers in that situation, you need folks that are 100% of the time the example you want those officers to become for their future soldiers.

    If I were setting this up, I would use a mix of active/guard/reserve officers/NCOs in cadre. The guard/reserve folks on tech/ADOS allow you to put a valuable SL/PSG or MAJ back in circulation, and they can continue to drill with their unit too. That's force multiplication, and it's exposure to not only other branches, but each of the components.

    I would also think about doing this course after OBC rather than before. That would give you officers that have their branch skills coming back together with officers of other branches. That's a really valuable learning & networking tool.

    There are so many things that could have been accomplished in that time that would make the Army better. But that's not what happened.

    If that's a negative attitude, then fine. I certainly do have a negative attitude toward things that make my fighting organization weaker. I think you can have a positive or negative experience based on your attitude, and that attitude can be infectious. But, I don't think the training or conduct of the course itself was useful in the least.

    As far as the stupid stuff... Yeah, absolutely a lot of stupid stuff happened on the weekends. That's to be expected to a certain degree. But, yes, there can and should be much stronger measures in place to prevent problems and injuries. If you run it efficiently, you can reduce it under three weeks with little time off & more to occupy the students.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: BOLC-II done

      [QUOTE=dnall]
      When we finally did train, every last item we did there was a requirement at the commissioning source. If you make me go through the motions on something I've already demonstrated mastery of then I'm going to be bored. If you do it like I'm an 18yo immature private, then I'm going to be annoyed. If you are condescending to students, and everything from unprofessional and unorganized on the best day to inappropriate and insulting toward both students and fellow cadre, then I'm going to start getting a little pissed. [/QUOTE]

      Sigh....so it hasn't changed in 12 years...

      When I did my Basic Course, it was all at one location, and the first weeks was what is now a phase of BOLC..

      It was a relief to have that done so we could get to our Branch-specific training.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: BOLC-II done

        While I won't argue that BOLC-II could have been better, a lot of what you said was what many of the 2LT's focused on, and ignored a lot of opportunities to get some really good training. I believe almost all the Cadre we had were on profile, but that doesn't mean they don't have valuable experience and knowledge to pass on.

        There were several prior service NCO's who still managed to learn something new during the training by talking to other priors, asking cadre for more info in certain areas, etc.

        Again, the take away is not whether or not BOLC-II was a waste of time or could be drastically improved, but rather make the most of opportunities presented, or make new opportunities.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: BOLC-II done

          I'm always in favor of looking on the bright side, and taking advantage of learning opportunities. I did have a positive experience there with the other students. It's the actual training & the cadre there that did nothing for me.

          I said before the training was a repeat at beginner level for everyone. The cadre were a mixed bag. A few were good, but they weren't in charge of anything. Mostly, everyone had already mentally checked out of the place. Some were flat incompetent.

          For example... one of the plts was running the FOB. They took indirect fire (fire crackers). Their CPT told them to have all the towers take an azimuth to the impact point. Then they could triangulate & take a back azimuth from there to find the firing point.

          One of the squad mentors had been relieved twice in combat as a SL for engaging friendly troops. Same guy talked about being in 500 fire fights. Said he liked getting shot at. Said when the bullets hit the wall next to him he'd move into their path. Dude was actually dangerous, and that's who ran the majority of the training for our plt.

          At least weekly there would be cadre on cadre yelling matches in front of students. Insults being yelled across the Bn area, and I don't mean the joking kind. A lot of cadre just didn't show up most of the time. Some cadre would go out drinking with students during the week, which was against standing orders for students to do at all.

          We ran 4 times in 2 months. Everyone's PT score went down, even if you worked out on your own.

          I always had a positive attitude toward training, but nothing about that place was anything but checking a box. What I heard in my head all the time was my drill sgt back in the day saying, "you waste my time, I'll waste yours... drop."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: BOLC-II done

            [QUOTE=dnall] Same guy talked about being in 500 fire fights. Said he liked getting shot at. Said when the bullets hit the wall next to him he'd move into their path. [/QUOTE]

            That is effing hilarious...We had a VMI graduate who was just soooo intense...he would yell while gritting his teeth instead of actually using grown-up words...During the field portion, his fighting position was a a few yards away from mine, and after dark I would throw rocks forward of his foxhole...and listen to him threaten the imaginary OPFOR that was "sneaking up on him".

            My battlebuddy, (now a fellow Major whom I talk to pretty regularly) would say "hey, it's kind of quite"....I would toss a few rocks into the darkness and then it would start again...

            [B][I]I HEAR YOU...I AM COMING TO CRACK YOUR FREAKIN SKULLS...[/I][/B]
            Last edited by California Major; January 4th, 2010, 11:24 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: BOLC-II done

              haha! See, that's pretty funny.

              Too bad I have to fear for the future soldiers of people like that. Putting someone like that in a position of mentoring/teaching/refining brand new officers, many of whom already have downrange assignments... that seems like just about the worst idea possible.

              Comment

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