A tough new jungle training course has opened in Hawaii as part of the Hawaii-based 25th Infantry Division‘s alignment with Pacific Command and the “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region.
According to Army Times, the Jungle Operations Training Course on the island of Oahu lasts 21 days. Those who complete the course earn a “Jungle Expert” tab
“When you look at the area we operate in, from India all the way through Bangladesh, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and into the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, to East Timor and Papua New Guinea, all of them are jungle,” said Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, commanding general of 25th Infantry Division.
As Army Times reports, the goal is to have the training course available to all of the U.S. Army, not just Hawaii-based soldiers.
“We’re offering it up to the Army,” Fuller said. “If that’s something they’re interested in doing, we’d be happy to support it with the right resources.”
The Jungle Operations Training Course is the first such school devoted to this type of training since Fort Sherman, which was turned over to Panama in 1999.
“We have to learn to not only survive in this environment, we have to learn to live in this environment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dominick Johnson, the senior instructor for the JOTC.
“Our focus on the [Central Command area of operations] during the last decade and the closure of the jungle school in Panama created kind of a vacuum of experience, and this is an attempt to relearn a lot of the lessons,” said Maj. Andrew Lyman, commander of the Lightning Academy, which oversees the JOTC.
According to Army Times, roughly 800 soldiers have completed the JOTC thus far.
“We’re so accustomed to being able to command and control our guys through line of sight, but you can’t do that in the jungle,” Johnsaid said. “The three- to five-second rush, you can’t do that in some places. In some cases, you have to crawl to your objective.
“You’re not only fighting the enemy, but you’re fighting the terrain; you’re fighting the weather,” Johnson continued. “They say the jungle is neutral. It doesn’t fight for you, it doesn’t fight against you, but it’s tough.”