1ABCT Soldiers train KMA cadets for the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition
CAMP CASEY, South Korea - The soldiers were training, moving to their next station, and then it happened. Suddenly, they scurried into position, reacting to an ambush. It was time to use the skills they had learned.
The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers trained and mentored cadets from the Korea Military Academy March 24-31 at Camp Casey and Hovey, South Korea in preparation for the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. April 10-11.
The competition started when the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, United Kingdom, presented a British officer's sword to West Point in 1967. The sword was to act as a prize for a competition with the goal of promoting military excellence to cadets around the world.
Every year, nine-men teams test on a 25.6 miles course involving different scenarios consisting of basic combat skills such as obstacle course navigation, rifle marksmanship and combat swimming.
The KMA has experience in the competition. They participated in 2013 coming in 52nd out of 59 teams. However, they say it will be different this time.
"We are looking forward to get in top five places for the competition," said Cadet Huh Choong-bum, a third-year cadet at KMA. "We are very motivated to compete with other countries' academies ... It's going to be very fun."
The 1st ABCT has been providing training areas and Soldiers to help the cadets. Soldiers were selected as subject matter experts for the medical and the field artillery portions. Three officers, who graduated from West Point and have participated in the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition when they were cadets, led the Korean cadets through training, giving the team leader tips.
"Today, we were doing combination of a week of training with the Korea Military Academy cadets," said 1st Lt. Vincent Delany, platoon leader for 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment, 1st ABCT. "It involves an intensive land navigation course, and dismounted movements to a range where they took contact and react to treat casualties. After the range, they came up to call for fire trainer by foot on route. They had to drag patients in stretchers approximately half a mile."
Even though cadets couldn't fully understand the scenario and made few mistakes on the first run, they will definitely perform better next time because they have the motivation, said Delany.
"I think the training showed they got a lot of heart, and they have good leadership at the cadet level reacting to expected events," he said. "They have the knowledge I think to accomplish the tasks that they are expected to."
According to Huh, the 1st ABCT Soldiers helped by providing one-on-one training, and the Soldiers were friendly during the training.
"They taught us about the proper fire, tactical casualty cares and tactical movement," said Huh. "They taught us through their combat experience, so it was very helpful."
The KMC cadets will take a flight straight to New York. After getting familiar with the weather and environment, they will be ready to put what they learned to the test.