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Tactics 101-065: Rehearsals, Part 2By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland | Tactics101|War College | Published: October 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
In our last article, we began our discussion on rehearsals. We addressed several topics related to rehearsals. They included: 1) The definition, purpose and goals of a rehearsal. 2) The types of rehearsals available to a Commander. 3) How to plan a rehearsal. and 4) How to prepare for a rehearsal. This discussion should have left you the following conclusions. First, a Commander has several rehearsal options available to him to utilize. Second, the type of rehearsal the Commander ultimately decides upon is based on many factors. Third, a quality rehearsal just doesn’t happen. It requires its’ own quality planning and preparation.
This month, we will complete our look at rehearsals by focusing on execution. We will key on two key areas. First, we will dissect the execution of a rehearsal. Second, we will provide you with a script for executing a rehearsal. Let’s move out!
EXECUTING A REHEARSAL
You have conducted quality planning and have been prudent in preparation; now it is time for rehearsal execution. As in any endeavor, effective planning and preparation certainly set the conditions for a quality rehearsal. However, even the best planning and preparation does not necessarily lead to an outstanding rehearsal. Many things can go awry during the execution phase of the rehearsal. Below are some things that you should consider or adhere to in order to conduct a quality rehearsal.
As we addressed last month, a rehearsal script can be an extremely valuable tool during execution. As the name suggest, a rehearsal script is the blueprint to conduct the rehearsal. As mentioned earlier, the director of the rehearsal (in most cases, the unit’s XO) will craft up the script. Before developing the script, he will seek guidance from the Commander on various topics. These include:
With this information, he can now formulate his script. There are several options available to him to put these thoughts into words. These include: jotting them down on the trusty note-card, utilizing a fill-in the blank template, using a sharpie and butcher block, or a laptop or other pieces of technology.
To assist you in understanding what goes into a script, we will use a basic scenario to guide our discussion. The scenario is based on the following conditions:
Below we will provide an example of what the script for this rehearsal could look like. We will highlight what should be discussed, why it is important to be discussed, and who should discuss it.
STEP 1– Roll Call
The Task Force Executive Officer will begin the rehearsal by conducting a roll call of all the rehearsal participants. Participants should include company commanders, any supporting platoon leaders (field artillery, engineer, chemical, etc…) internal specialty platoon leaders (scouts, mortars, medical, support, maintenance), primary staff officers and anyone else that the Commander has determined he wants to attend. The roll call serves several purposes. First, it signifies the start of the rehearsal. Second, it of course confirms who is there and more importantly, who is not at the rehearsal.
STEP 2 – Introduction/Welcome
After the roll call, the Commander takes over briefly. At this time, he will welcome all to the rehearsal. He will also introduce any new members to the Task Force. This should be pretty brief, but is a good personal touch for the commander. However, this is no time for a long motivational talk – the seconds are clicking away until the mission commences.
STEP 3 – Overview
Once again, the Executive Officer takes over the rehearsal. At this time, he will go over the specifics of the rehearsal. There are several areas he should cover. These include the following:
STEP 4 – Orientation
You must understand your environment. In this example, the environment is the terrain model. To assist in this, the Operations Officer (S3) will orient all to the terrain model. This orientation will include the following:
STEP 5 – Final Preliminaries
Before delving into the rehearsal proper, there are a few other pieces of business that should be addressed. These all should be covered by the Executive Officer. They are:
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