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Looking at the glass as half full

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Todd Wivell
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
(Note: This is part seven of a 13-part series on the Combat Control School training program. Combat Control instructors and students are identified by their rank and first name only.)

The old adage of looking at a glass as either half full or half empty is an analogy that can be used in almost any situation, regardless if it is at work or in training. As the 16 remaining trainees of Class 09-003 reached the halfway point of their 13-week training at the Pope Combat Control School, the trainees have come to that point where they must look at whether their glass is half full or half empty. It is a point in which they must look back on what they have already accomplished and realize their glass is half full. 

"Overall the class is doing pretty well," said Master Sgt. Charles McHarney, CCS Operations Superintendent. "They are working well as a team and they are minimizing their mistakes. Additionally, for the most part, they are keeping a positive attitude regardless of the situations we put them in." 

Sergeant McHarney added that the hardest struggle for this class was working with the trainees to improve their strength in the water. 

"When the trainees come to us, their fin times are usually a little slow. We don't get to dedicate a whole lot of time to swim training, so we have to maximize the time that the trainees spend in the pool. Once the students graduate, they could potentially begin their pre-scuba training in a matter of weeks. It is paramount they become as strong as they can be (in the water) when they leave here." 

Over the course of the last seven weeks, the trainees have done everything from intense physical training sessions, throwing live grenades, firing weapons, blowing stuff up, marching around the base with 70-pound ruck sacks on their backs, navigating through the woods of Fort Bragg in the night and living out in the field for a majority of their time.
During week seven, the students went through non-stop training, including weapons firing, rappelling off of structures training and an intense obstacle course on Fort Bragg. 

"The training becomes more difficult as the course progresses," said Sergeant McHarney. "The trainees will be forced to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in the field. We will take them out of their 'comfort zone' and put them in difficult situations. We will expect them to perform, regardless of the situation/conditions surrounding them." 

When asked about what sticks out most in this class, Sergeant McHarney added, "Up until this point, there really have not been any major mistakes made by this team as a whole. Usually this is not the case. We put the team in a variety of scenarios with stringent requirements. I am not saying they are not making any mistakes; it is just they have not made any that are a cause for great concern. 

"There are a few individuals who stand out from the rest in this class and that is typical for a class coming through the school house. The big question will be whether or not they can maintain their current output throughout the remainder of the course, especially as the next half of their training becomes more difficult." 

As week eight begins, the trainees are once again headed to the field for more intense training. This time they will begin to take everything they have learned through the first half of training and apply it to real world scenarios. Looking at their glass as half full, the trainees will take all of their knowledge and skills learned during the first seven weeks and apply it through this last half of training, eventually filling their glass to the top and allowing them the overall satisfaction of earning the red beret.