By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /
Twenty-six Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets, from the Royal Hospital School Combined Cadet Force in the United Kingdom, traveled to Fort Benning to learn combat, surveillance and tactical skills July 10 to 23.
The 199th Infantry Brigade Officer Candidate School hosted the cadets and the six RHS CCF adult volunteers.
Instead of spending their summer vacationing at the beach, the cadets, ranging in age from 16 to 18, chose Fort Benning for a two-week long training program.
The program is the first time British cadets have come to train at Fort Benning.
“With our partner nations, specifically the U.K., their cadets get exposed to how we do things, and can start those in-roads for the interoperability training for us sending people to them and them sending people to us to be trained since we work so closely on the battlefield together,” said Capt. Douglas Stansbury, D company commander of Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course.
The cadets spent time training with the Airborne School and with the Rangers at Victory Pond and Darby Queen.
They also had the chance to attend an abbreviated version of the Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course, the Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course and RSLC.
“At the start of the training, we took it a lot easier and gradually built up the intensity throughout the weeks,” said cadet Henry Ager.
The cadets went to Lee Field July 21 to train with RSLC on reconnaissance and situational awareness in an urban environment. They learned how to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle drone, as well as how to create a hideout and avoid detection.
“There’s a big focus on leadership. The more experience you get being a leader, the better you will be in leadership,” said cadet Ben Harrison, speaking on the lessons he will bring back home.
Building lasting relationships is one aspect that the program stresses.
“While we’ve been here, we’ve built relationships with the American Army,” said Ager. “There’s a strong tie between the American and British Army.”
“We hope this will be a catalyst for having some sort of legacy structure where we can exchange young people,” said Lt. Col. Marc Godfrey, with the Royal Hospital School Combined Cadet Force. “They are going to be the future of both our nations.”