Cadets Jake Hackney, University of California in Los Angeles, and Mike Powell, University of Texas, are planning, as OPFOR, proper offensive tactics to defend against American forces on Aug. 5. Photo by Brendan Schmidt.

Fort Knox, Ky. – Cadets from 10th Regiment, Advanced Camp role-played as the Opposing Forces, also known as OPFOR, during Field Training Exercises, FTX, Aug. 5 at Area of Operation Panther.

The OPFOR Cadets were conducting a defense mission against American forces that are trying to take the mortar tubes they have at the OPFOR patrol base.

This helps the Cadets who are the American forces learn how to properly carry out and complete an objective and mission. Also, it teaches the OPFOR cadets proper defense techniques when they are in the offensive side.

Cadet Mike Powell, University of Texas, is getting in position to defend the OPFOR patrol base Aug. 5. Photo by Brendan Schmidt.

Prior enlisted Cadet Mike Powell, from University of Texas in San Antonio, talked about how a platoon is chosen to be OPFOR and how it is different to be on the defensive side rather than the attacking side.

“It’s definitely different when you’re doing the offensive side…where it’s all about a defensive posture of repelling the attack,” said Powell.

Cadet Jake Hackney from University of California in Los Angeles talked about the different skills he is using while going through FTX.

“You can go from all the tactical skills we’ve learned as cadets, life skills when it comes to dealing with individuals in your platoon and personal resilience,” said Hackney. “No matter how tough you are, when you’re in a group of 35 people and no showers and constantly together, people can sometimes rub the wrong way against each other, so it takes a lot of personal resilience and empathy.”

Powell said that, along with what Hackney mentioned, it is all about having grit and heart to be able to get through FTX.

Hackney also mentioned his favorite part of Advanced Camp and how he has been putting what he has learned to use.

Cadet Jake Hackney, UCLA, was replacing a magazine for is gun while defending the OPFOR patrol base from American forces Aug. 5. Photo by Brendan Schmidt.

“Even though it’s hot, the field is the most enjoyable thing because you are actually out here applying what you learn,” said Hackney. “Gaining more confidence in the tactics we’ve been trained in for the past three years and being able to implement them.”

Powell agreed with Hackney that it is nice to be able to apply the skills they learned in the past three years and being able to use them in a tactical environment.

They were able to use these skills during their training exercise as the defensive side, to challenge the Cadets playing the American forces to complete their mission.