In this post we start to delve into field life at TBS.
FEX 1 at the Basic School is the first significant field op that LTs do at TBS.
It is approximately 4 days, and includes a number of different events including squad tactics, call for fire, and a live fire range.
Lets get into it.
The first two days of FEX-1 will focus on squad tactics. Some refer to it as "SULE 3" which is fairly accurate.
During squad tactics, approximately 4 LTs will hold a squad leader billet each day, and will be graded on their terrain model, op-order delivery, and execution of the mission.
For most, squad tactics is not particularly exciting, as it is essentially a more detailed version of what candidates do at OCS. It focuses on the fundamentals of fire and movement (communication, dispersion, buddy rushing, etc) which are surprisingly difficult in the horrible terrain of the Quantico highlands.
The only difference is that you will be expected to brief a much more thorough order, and will use radios (PRC-117F) to maintain contact with the COC and call for notional fires.
Just like SULE 2 at OCS, LTs buddy rush against an enemy, firing blanks and then consolidating on the objective.
FEX-1 becomes more interesting once squad tactics have been completed.
R-7 is a massive range, during which LTs have the opportunity to see artillery up close and all the moving parts that enable giant cannons to put warheads on foreheads.
In addition, LTs have the opportunity to call for fire from mortars and artillery, which is an incredible experience. Using proper protocols over the radio, you can rain death and destruction from miles away with incredible accuracy .
R-5 is a live fire range, which is basically SULE with live rounds. After receiving an op-order from a LT billet holder, you enter the range as a squad and get on-line. As Ivan targets present themselves, you buddy rush and fire live rounds down range, knocking down targets as new ones pop up.
It is physically demanding, exciting, and satisfying if done well.
Like most other field events at TBS, the weather will largely determine your experience at FEX 1.
If you are going in the winter, ensure to bring many layers, and to waterproof everything.
Merino wool is expensive, but will keep you warm, does not smell after days of wear, and wicks sweat. This is important as you will alternate between freezing and sweating throughout the day as you wait for hours before patrolling with a full combat load. This base layer is worth it.
A JetBoil and dehydrated meals will greatly enhance your quality of living, along with tent stakes to construct an A-Frame with your tarp.
Waterproof bags are another piece of essential gear, as it has the tendency to rain for the duration of the FEX.
You will be miserable regardless, but eating large, hot meals and bringing the right gear will minimize the human factors.