Panther Battalion learns skills for future


Jason Howell

Junior English major Kyler Davis crawls under barbed wire on the Confidence Course on Saturday at the Marseilles Training Center in Marseilles, Ill.

Mackenzie Freund, City Editor

MARSEILLES, Ill — Dust flew into the cool damp morning air while cadets from the Panther Battalion built up confidence and faced their fears during the Saturday morning run of the Confidence Course at the Army National Guard Camp.

The Confidence Course was one of the different training exercises the cadets went through during their weekend training.

The two platoons were split into four squads and sent to try out the obstacles during a dry run after the MS4 level cadets showed them how each obstacle is used.

Each cadet went through and tried different techniques that they would later use in the competition to see who could get through the course quicker.

Blake Miller, the cadet captain participating in the confidence course competition, said the fastest platoon would get a ribbon for their flag.

All of the squads began the course at the same time at different obstacles and would complete the course after they completed each of the 12 obstacles.

If someone could not complete an obstacle there was a specific amount of time that would be added to their time.

At the end of the competition, the second platoon had the quickest collective time for finishing the course, winning the ribbon for their flag.

After the competition was complete and the cadets ate their Meal Ready-to-Eat, or MRE, they split off by squads and went through two more training exercises.

Firearms Training Simulator, or FATS, was an area where cadets would go and practice shooting virtual targets.

Master Sergeant Jack Robison led the cadets in the FATS training by first teaching them things to keep in mind while handling a firearm.

Robison told the cadets they need to make sure their weapon is cleared before use, so they would not accidentally kill someone.

“Every single weapon you will ever hold in your entire life is loaded until you clear it,” Robison said.

Robison told the cadets to never point a gun at someone unless they had an intention of killing them.

During this time, cadets were in another building learning about a program called Virtual Battle Space, or VBS, where they would play on a simulation that allowed them to go on a virtual mission.

During the first trip to VBS, cadets had a chance to learn how the program worked so they could complete their mission when they returned for their second training time.

Before the battalion left Sunday morning, they went through a Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer, HEAT, where they learned how to exit a Humvee after it rolls over.

During the first training session Friday morning, the cadets learned what their pace was, how to read a map accurately, use a compass, and how to plot points using coordinates.

Cadets went through land navigation where they would plot coordinates they were given and go find the points in the woods that were part of the training camp. They repeated this process for a second round of land navigation.



Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]