The FTX Experience

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Albert Einstein once said that the only source of knowledge is experience.  During my time at Ft. McCoy for the Battalion Field Training eXercise(FTX), I gained plenty of both through my squad members, hands-on projects, and various challenges presented to me.

As a brand new MS1, I have very little experience with being a Soldier, but I was able to learn a lot in a single weekend.  This is primarily thanks to my Squad and Platoon members.  Their instruction came in the form of tips on land navigation, instruction on proper military courtesy and decorum, and knowledge on which MRE’s are the best.  Overall, I learned that your brothers and sisters-in-arms can be of immense value and can increase your learning experience dramatically.

Not only did I gain an immense amount of knowledge from my squad members, I also learned a lot from hands on activities.  In some cases, knowledge and experience were added to knowledge that I already possessed, which, was the case for Basic Rifle Marksmanship.  On the other hand, with first aid and rappelling, I found myself to be totally ignorant.  The hands on work at the range, classroom time, the compass courses, and the Air Assault tower quickly corrected many of my deficiencies in those areas.  The interaction, with the field training environment, made learning many new skills both easy and enjoyable.

In conclusion, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities presented through work with my squad, hands on training, and various challenges presented to me during the training.

CDT MSI Jonathan Downs

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