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
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.