Saturday (3 OCT 2015) at the NC PATCON I was invited to participate in the sandtable CPX. The basic scenario was that a base defense operation took in a young female refugee, who reported that two adolescent females were being held hostage in a nearby house by criminals. Our mission was to mount a rescue, to be planned in real-time, at night. I was given the task of operations chief, working for an operations officer (S-3)/second-in-charge (2IC), with the team as a whole under the command of the CO/first-in-charge (1IC). Other team members included a medical detachment leader, and a recon leader. CA also played the role of one of the two platoon leaders available in the exercise. Our goal was to dispatch a recon unit, and then execute the planning phase for this operation through the briefing of the assault team.
The exercise was conducted in a suitably makeshift tactical operations center (TOC), using prepared intelligence materials (a map and some Google photos prepared by the exercise coordinator (Grenadier1). All other materials were makeshift, and lighting was realistically poor. Communication among the various elements was via handheld radios, which added to the realism, and introduced unexpected uncertainty, as noted later.
First, I will describe the baggage I brought to the exercise, the adjustments I had to make to my previous experiences, and things I overlooked or could have done better.
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