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Primary Leadership Development Course adapts to modern warfare

Story and photo by Tawny Archibald Campbell/The Bayonet

FORT BENNING, Ga. (TRADOC News Service, March 7, 2005) – Students attending the Primary Leadership Development Course at Fort Benning are seeing new training. Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Longstreet, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, NCO Academy, said the current PLDC class is the first to participate in a pilot program designed to help familiarize NCOs with issues that affect Soldiers in today’s Army.

“We focus on things besides regular training,” Longstreet said. “(The pilot program) added various reporting procedures, requests for medical evacuations and incorporated improvised explosive devices – something we were doing already.”

A course on sexual assault was added to go along with the sexual-harassment classes already being taught. Land navigation and site training were also consolidated.

“It’s good because all (NCOs), not just those in combat arms, will know what to do,” said Sgt. Matthew Tennill, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “When they go on a convoy, they will know what to do with an IED on the side of the road. They can be the leader – step up and take control of the situation.”

Besides basic training, this was the first time in the field for Sgt. Teria Wright from Fort Jackson, S.C.

“If somebody were to take me (without PLDC) and put four Soldiers under me, I wouldn’t know what to do,” Wright said. “Everything they have added to this course is important, and noncombative Soldiers learn things we wouldn’t have known before.”

Neither Tennill nor Wright felt the program’s seven-day work week was an issue. They felt taking out the breaks helped them retain information and stay in “learning mode” longer.

“Everything goes by quicker because the weeks run together,” said Sgt. Brynton Hester of Fort Gordon, Ga. “We don’t have much time off, so the continual training instills discipline to be a Soldier 24/seven, not just as a nine-to-five job.”

Hester said he thinks the training has changed because it is “a different war with different tactics, and we need to change our training to adapt to the world today.”

The students in this PLDC cycle will graduate March 10.

Spc. Tyesha Johnson of Fort McPherson, Ga., uses binoculars to survey an area of the woods as part of a reporting procedure drill. The reporting procedures are part of a pilot program being used at Fort Benning's PLDC.

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Sgt. Jeremy McCaray of Fort Jackson, S.C., pounds in a tent stake as he prepares to batten down the hatches for what could be a stormy night. The Soldiers at PLDC spent five days and nights performing situational-training exercises at Fort Benning.

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