Victory Forge is over and I have to say that although there were things that could have gone better on our part, overall... for the first six day we've ever attempted, it went really well. The soldiers did really well and I think that they got more out of this week than they ever would have out of the 3 days we did in the past. Not just because of the time involved either, but the training was pretty good all around and they were really fired up about doing the big company mission. They got to do a lot of things that they haven't before, like cross talking between platoons during the mission and coordinating movement times and triggers for certain actions. Due to factors beyond our control they only got to do the whole mission twice, but they did well the first time and improved dramatically the second time. If we had had the opportunity to run it all four times like we planned I'm sure it would have been incredible.
We also had a scheduling conflict with every other unit on post apparently. Ft Jackson has created a whole bunch of MOUT sites, but on the day we were going to do this C&S mission, we couldn't get anything that would work for us, so we ended up creating a little ghetto village in the woods out of pickets, trees, 550 cord and shelter halves. (We did have the MOUT site during the "Battle, march and shoot" day, though.)
We really hit some things hard that have had a tendency to get overlooked before. I spent a week writing the warning orders and oporder and time lines. The oporder was as detailed and realistic as I could make it, and I gave the company a whole class on combat orders and then issued them during VF as realistically as I could. Gave the warning order, initiated movement, conducted a reconnaissance mission with the Platoon Guides and Squad Leaders, showed them how to conduct rehearsals to standard (everything possible... Aid and Litter teams, EPW/KIA search teams, actions on objective, convoy movement, hasty TCP set up, blocking position, ambush, LP/OPs), all the way through and issued the whole OPORDER right before the mission.
The first time they had trouble with communication between platoons, so before the second one we did a radio check in front of the whole company and talked about ANCDs and filling radios, platoon and company freqs and all that. Then we did a complete COMEX so they understood what steps had to happen before others. It made a big difference and the second mission was a lot smoother. The whole idea was for them to get a better feel for the things they're actually going to have to do before, during, and after missions.
Anyway, it's time to go watch the Sopranos.