Aspiring Lieutenants Practice Getting Lost On Land Navigation Training

Pfc. Tom Porter, assign to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, plots his course on his map at the land navigation course during Expert Infantryman Badge train up at Schofield Barracks East Range, Hawaii, on June 5, 2018.
U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon

Second lieutenants are famous for getting lost, but two Army ROTC cadets got a head start on their peers by spending nearly 24 hours adrift in the jungle operations training course at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Jokes aside, the situation was very serious: The training course features dense jungle and up to 40% of the students who begin the three-week program fail to make it through, according to the Army.

“It’s not unusual to have a cadet or anyone training get lost on a land navigation course,” Master Sgt. Jason Stadel, a spokesman for the Army’s 25th Infantry Division, told Task & Purpose. “What was unusual was the time they were gone.”

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser first reported on Sunday that the cadets had been found after a massive search for them that involved more than 200 soldiers and emergency personnel.

“They mobilized parts of the division HHBN [Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion], 3rd Brigade Combat Team and then the combat aviation brigade from the Army side and then we also had support from the Honolulu Fire Department and Honolulu Police Department,” Stadel said.

The cadets saw the rescue helicopters looking for them and were able to “straighten themselves out” once they found the road, he said. Eventually, the cadets found a road in the training course and were able to walk back to safety. Other than fatigue, both cadets suffered no medical issues from the ordeal.

The two cadets were enrolled in the course just like other soldiers, Stadel said. ROTC cadets typically take part in such training – including the Basic Airborne Course – during the summer before they graduate. The division is not releasing what schools the two cadets attend at this time.

“The entire jungle operations course was there – not just cadets,” Stadel said. “They were doing land navigation and just got turned around, as best I can tell.”

As part of efforts to fight against enemies that can jam GPS, the Army is expanding Infantry-One Station Unit Training to give Army recruits more experience with land navigation. The recruits will be tested on how well they can find points with a map and compass both in the day at night.

So far, the Army has not instituted a course to teach second lieutenants how to ask for directions when they get lost.


Kade Kurita (U.S. Army photo(

Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.

"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.

Read More Show Less
The Minot Air Force Base main gate (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force is investigating reports that an airman consumed marijuana while assigned to one of the highly-sensitive missile alert facility (MAF) responsible for overseeing 400 nuclear GM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Read More Show Less

Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.

No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.

Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.

Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.

There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.

Read More Show Less
U.S Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari outside Iraq's defense ministry in Baghdad on Wednesday (Associated Press/Hadi Mizban)

The 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will be allowed to stay in Iraq for at most four weeks, Iraq's defense minister said Wednesday, in an embarrassing rebuff to President Donald Trump's plans for withdrawing from Syria.

Najah al-Shammari's comments to the Associated Press came shortly after his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who went to Baghdad to negotiate the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq after they withdrew from Syria.

Read More Show Less