Week 6 Overview
Week 6 was the week when I finally started to feel like we were on the downward slope to graduation. Our Consolidated Written Test (CWT) 2 was first thing on Monday morning and it was really no different than CWT 1 except that it contained different information. I think everyone’s scores from CWT 1 to CWT 2 were about the same. Being done with both CWTs meant we were almost done with all of our graded measurements, although I remember the major graduation requirement of the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) and leadership position still looming on the horizon for some.
Being done with the CWT also meant we no longer had any major academic classes. There were a few here and there that reinforced what we had learned earlier in the course but the majority of our time was spent doing initial out-processing appointments such as drafting and reviewing our DD-214 (Separation from Active Duty form), assignments briefing, or briefings which outlined upcoming events such as the MARE. To further reinforce that we were approaching the end, we had a picture day. We took an official photo in Service Dress with 2d Lt pinned on our shoulders. We also took our flight photos which included everyone in our flight including our Flight Commander. Like everything else these days, this was an opportunity for a business to make some money. If you wanted a printed flight photo I think it was $10. If you wanted your printed flight photo and digital official photo on a CD with the copyright I think it was $30. The price seemed a bit steep to me but it was convenient and I was only going to attend OTS once, so I went for the $30. I will mention that Public Affairs on any Air Force Base will take an official photo of you for free if you need it for a biography or won an award.
Leadership Reaction Course (LRC)
I believe I mentioned in my previous post that LRC is basically a combination of Project X and BELPS. LRC is the evaluation process you completed at BELPS in the Project X complex/scenarios. I thought it was much easier because the scenario was more clearly defined and there were no arbitrary rules such as taking cover for mortar attacks. Most people did better at LRC than during BELPS so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you think you are close to the failing line just be sure to share your concerns with your flight mates. They will be more than willing to help you out. Check out my Project X post for more information about the specifics of the scenarios. The score you receive for LRC will tie directly into your end of course feedback and overall academic grade, which I will discuss in a separate post.
Major Accident Response Exercise (MARE)
The MARE was similar to the base MARE exercises many prior service personnel may have experienced. In general a MARE involves a major accident such as an aircraft crash where there are a lot of casualties. Sometimes the closest base will be tasked to respond and the response is what was simulated by OTS. The Cadet MSG/CC was tasked with breaking the entire cadet wing into chalks for the MARE. All of the chalks performed a function such as security or medical and people who needed leadership positions fulfilled their graded leadership roles. They tried to have the ANG personnel fulfill these positions because they are the ones who are more likely to respond to a MARE in their career.
During any major emergency response the most important thing is communication. It is absolutely crucial that the leadership at the top has the ability to communicate with the teams on the ground. Due to the limited training of everyone involved, lack of communication will likely be a problem for the MARE. The biggest thing is to know your mission, do your best to keep your leadership advised, and respond accordingly.
A lot of the chalks were tasked with being actors for the exercise. They were tasked to play dead or injured bodies at the exercise site, and many people got shivers when they rolled up hearing all of the screaming and chaos. This is a valuable lesson to learn from the training. It is always interesting to learn how you react to certain situations.
I don’t really have a lot of advice for the MARE except to treat it realistically, have a good time, and learn what you can. The MARE will have no value if everyone treats it like a game. Try to immerse yourself in the situation so people can receive realistic training.
The MARE lasted an entire afternoon and it was near the OTS complex (walking distance.) People received assorted props such as flak vests or weapons, radios, or props associated with the chaotic scenario depending on their role. The site had actual debris scattered everywhere so I thought it was fairly realistic. After the MARE we went straight to retreat.