Three phases to graduation
Earning a gold bar and becoming an Army leader is a process, of which the
Leader’s Training Course is only the first step. But even that first step involves a series of growth.
The course is broken down into three distinct phases.
Phase One: Soldier First
This is a basic introduction to the Army aimed at teaching Cadets skills and knowledge necessary to successfully participate in the next three phases.
Phase Two: Warrior Leader
This part of the Leader’s Training Course covers adventure training, which builds both Cadet self-confidence and unit esprit-de-corps. The focus in the beginning of these three weeks is on individual skills. As this phase progresses, Cadets learn more about working in the group and squad dynamic.
Cadets continue to hone their basic military skills in order to function as a small-group member.
In this phase, Cadets will take part in a variety of individual and squad-level exercises. Leadership roles will change every 24 hours, with new assessments given at the end of each day.
Cadets will be asked to assess themselves and their peers.
This phase’s capstone exercise is the field training exercise, covering 3½ days. The FTX is considered one of the most enjoyable segments of LTC.
Cadets are exposed to squad-level operations where cadre assess the Cadet’s leadership ability in a field environment. They will spend all of their time in the field, moving tactically along squad tactics lanes, engaging opposition forces made up of seasoned cadre as they assault bunkers and react, as well as carry out, ambush scenarios.
The main focus of the FTX is small-unit tactics and combat training, in which Cadets will use paintball guns.
The field training exercise is intentionally tough and introduces the element of stress. Throughout the exercise, Cadets encounter physical and mental obstacles that challenge them as a person, a Cadet and a leader. Cadets also will be introduced to the Warrior Ethos, the code by which Soldiers live.
Phase 3: Future Leader
This portion of training, the final few days of the course, introduces Cadets to the social aspect of the Army. Final briefings are conducted, as well as a family day in conjunction with a Cadet-run graduation ceremony where all are welcome to attend.
Cadets will clean and turn in equipment. Perhaps most importantly, they will receive final feedback and assessments, including a personal development plan for future use.