Summer Robin Sage training

Robin Sage is a summer Special Forces training program conducted at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg, N.C. Its purpose is a culminating training exercise for soldiers undergoing Special Forces training.

ROTC Cadets act as insurgent members of a growing resistance force in the fictional country of Pineland. They will be assigned to one of 15 "G" bands consisting of 3-4 Cadets, approximately 15-20 other regular Army soldiers, and 1 "G" chief.

The "G" band will conduct link-up operations with he Special Forces Student ODA's, receive specific training and begin conducting combat and sustainment operations. This will all be conducted in a non-permissive UW environment.

This is a great opportunity for senior ROTC Cadets to learn and grow as potential leaders. Subjects taught to and executed by the "G's" will consist of, but will not be limited to the following:

  1. Troop leading procedures
  2. Mission planning: (Warning Orders (WARNOs), Patrol Orders, Frag Orders (FRAGOs)
  3. Small unit tactics: (Raids, ambushes, recons)
  4. Air operations (Drop Zones (DZ), Landing Zones (LZ), message pick-up)
  5. Basic field craft: (survival, expedient navigation, etc.)
  6. Demolitions
  7. Medical skills
  8. Communications
  9. Weapons
  10. Common skill tasks

Cadet Perspective on Robin Sage

By: CDT Alex Chung

Operation Robin Sage is the fourth and final phase of the Special Forces Qualification Course; it is the culmination of 18 months of training.

For approximately three weeks, one third of North Carolina becomes the People's Republic of Pineland – a fictional nation that is invaded by its neighbors. A team of 12 Special Forces students, called an Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA), inserts into Pineland to assist guerilla forces fighting the enemy. The ODA's mission is not an easy one; they must establish a rapport with the guerillas, train them in unconventional warfare, and help them conduct missions against the enemy. Essentially, the Special Forces ODA's overall mission is to provide the guerillas with tools and skills necessary to win their own freedom.

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to role-play a guerilla in Operation Robin Sage 2004. Cadets from all over the country came to participate in this field-training exercise. Throughout my two weeks at Robin Sage, I participated in a half-dozen missions.

The Special Forces students trained us how to assault roadblocks or gun through checkpoints from our vehicles. We developed tactics to defend our base camp and were forced to execute those plans on several occasions. I conducted foot and vehicle reconnaissance on objectives. Everyone was introduced to basic MOUT (Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain) fighting skills – including door-breaching, room-clearing and hostage rescue. We conducted assaults on enemy compounds alongside the Special Forces students. We attacked the enemy by foot and by vehicle. We learned how to prepare airborne re-supply drop zones.

There was basic medical and casualty aid training along with classes on complex communications equipment. Everyone received training on night vision devices. We guerillas even simulated war crimes/human rights violations to see how the Special Forces students would respond.

My 16 days at Robin Sage were incredible. I had a lot of fun, met great people, and most notably – acquired a great wealth of knowledge. I still talk regularly with some of the other Cadets I met at Robin Sage, as well as some enlisted men who participated as guerillas too.

If you have the same opportunity (and you don't mind sleeping with a rock for a pillow) then don't pass it up.


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