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September 13 2008 at 7:31 AM
Alex Itenson 


Response to Critical Thinking

It's not inconceivable that an officer or NCO could find himself "lost", even one who is an expert in map reading and the use of a compass. It's happened to most, if not all, at one time or another in their career.

It's also not uncommon for the lead platoon commander within the company to be responsible for the actual navigation of the entire company. The company commander is usually way back there and not up front, although admittedly, he should be, but isn't always checking his map, especially if he has the utmost confidence in his lead platoon commander's navigational abilities.

There are also types of terrain that are impossibly challenging to navigate in without the modern GPS. Various terrains such as rolling plains, heavily wooded high hill country, jungle, desert, and other types of terrain that are devoid of the common navigational aids such as farmhouses, schools, churches, cross-roads, clearings, copses, and other landmarks common to the European landscape. In other words, the types of terrain where navigation is purely by compass and contour line. And I'm talking during daylight, and not darkness, which is a whole different ballgame!

Most have, at one time or another, been in a position where navigation is by educated guess and blind luck. Bottom line, anybody can get lost so don't put too much emphasis on a company commander being disgraced because he was unable to read a map.

 
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