By James Stockton
Command of the ground is no longer solely the job of the Army and Marines. The Air Force is being asked to step up and fill a role.
With the increased urbanization of warfare over the last 50 years, different combat techniques are needed to help soldiers navigate the new landscape.
These techniques were taught to Baylor Air Force ROTC students Wednesday through the Military Operation on Urban Terrain/Convoy Leadership laboratory.
These procedures, along with convoy drills, are taught to Air Force cadets because ground procedures are “becoming more and more common for Air Force members to participate in, rather than just our Army brothers and sisters,” said Maj. David Lamkin, assistant professor of aerospace studies.
Cadet Lt. Col. Cody Lee, a Weatherford junior, was one of two cadets in charge of putting together and running the Military Operation on Urban Terrain/Convoy Leadership laboratory.
Lee described the training exercise as a beginning step for freshman and sophomore cadets before they enter their field training, which occurs between a cadet’s sophomore and junior years.
“The Air Force is getting plugged in,” Lee said of the procedures that are normally pegged as Army and Marine duties.
”It went as planned,” Lee said of the drills. “We just wanted to make sure they had exposure.”
The Military Operation on Urban Terrain exercise included teaching cadets how to stack, or move in proper formation, before entering a hostile building, how to identify friendly targets and hostile targets quickly and how to move through an urban environment efficiently as a unit.
Convoy procedures involve communication between vehicles, identification of unknown objects on the side of a road and what to do when those objects are dangerous.
Cadet Cpt. Ron Martin, a Burleson senior, has gone through the Military Operation on Urban Terrain/Convoy lab four times.
“Each year it kinda changes in different ways,” Martin said. “It’s a forever evolving process.”
Martin encouraged older cadets to not take the lab for granted.
“As a senior, it might be different,” Martin said, citing differences in the way soldiers stack up when entering a hostile room.
The fact that Air Force cadets are training for ground procedures signifies an increased need for the different branches of the military to work together.
“The scope of what we’re doing is so vast,” Martin said, “there aren’t enough people in the other branches [to do it all].”
As the science of warfare changes, soldiers must adapt and change with it.