Posted on Mar 16, 2018
SGT Petroleum Supply Specialist
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Anyone ever went to Fort Leonard wood for BLC ? How was your experience ? Any advice for land Nav ?
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Never done land nav at Leonard Wood but I've done plenty of land nav. Rule #1. Take your time plotting your points and your azimuths. Go slow and do it right. If you screw up here, none of the other rules will matter. Rule #2. Trust your compass and follow it all the way to your point. No matter what your brain is telling you, the compass is right. Keep it in front of your face the whole time if you need to. You're not patrolling so there's nothing else you need to be looking at. Rule #3. ALWAYS ORIENT YOUR MAP. This screws up a lot of people with land nav. If you are heading south, when you pull out your map the southern part of the map should be facing the direction you're are travelling. This means, (in the case of travelling south) the map will be upside down. That's ok. As you follow your azimuth and you see a hill to your left, then you should be able to look at the map and the hill will be on the left there as well. Rule #4. Use your compass and azimuth over terrain association. Trying to use hills and whatnot to find your point is very difficult. Seeing a hill on a contour map and finding it on the ground is not as easy as it seems. Unless it is the only hill and stands out well. Use your compass. Follow your azimuth.
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CPT Training Officer (En/Mp/Cm), G 37, Individual Training Division
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Awesome advice. I will only add TRUST YOUR PACE COUNT.
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SGT Rick Whitmire
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CPT (Join to see) - As you said know your pace count, SPC Jouloute start counting every chance you get. It's been over 30 years since I did it for real and last year I was able to give a concrete contractor, over the phone, to within 10sq', how much crete he'd need for the irregular pour of over 2500 squares. He offered me a job. All because I know without thinking about it how far I step.
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CPT Lawrence Cable
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I'm not sure I agree that you should use the compass and pace count over terrain association. Yes, I agree that there are some places where there is not enough elevation change to show on some scales of military maps, but there are a lot of places that dead reckoning isn't really possible or blows chunks to do it. As many of us know, river bottoms in the Southeast are generally nightmares to traverse, so if there is enough terrain features to offset my point and follow a ridgeline, I pick it every time.
A short story as an example, I accompanied one of my rifle squads on the lovely Island of Adak. The squad leader was diligently following his compass and doing his pace count. After about two miles, I stopped the patrol and asked the squad leader a couple of map reading questions, what was the contour interval of this map being the big one. He correctly identified it. So I asked how big it was, and he correctly answered 20 meters (big intervals). Then asked him to count the contour intervals on feature that ran beside the route until the next azimuth and he came up with close answer of somewhere around 700'. At that point he finally realized that all he had to do was keep that feature to the proper side and he wasn't going to get lose.
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CPT Corporate Buyer
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CPT Lawrence Cable I use terrain association a lot as well, but it took a lot of practice before I could do it well. That's why I suggest that people who are still learning stick to dead reckoning. Plus, most land nav courses have points that are only a few hundred meters apart. I don't disagree with you at all though. I think a combination of both methods is critical when it comes to patrolling.
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MSG Senior Drill Sergeant
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SGT (Join to see), you’ll most likely use TA 247 or TA 148 for land navigation. Both courses are fairly simple and “self-correcting”. The G-M angle is less than a degree so even if you forget to convert, you’ll still be close enough to spot it. Also, these courses are heavily used by trainees so there are trails leading to a lot of points.

Just stick to all of the fundamentals of land navigation and you’ll be fine.

Always make sure you have a solid pace count; both, walking and running. Plot your points and determine your azimuth/distance before stepping off to your first point.

Best of luck!
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SSG Product Manager
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I was going to say the same too. Always remember to convert but FLW might be one of the few bases where even if you forget, you won't be too far off.
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MSG Senior Drill Sergeant
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SSG (Join to see), exactly. The G-M angle is 0.7 degrees. The furthest distance between points might be a couple hundred meters, at best. The “normal” courses here are not difficult at all. FLW definitely has some land navigation courses that are more difficult but I doubt BLC students will use them.
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SGT Petroleum Supply Specialist
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SGTs I’m more than happy for these lifesaving advices .Thank you .
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LTC Psychological Operations Officer
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Your comment about there being trails to the points made me chuckle. When going through the officer basic course at Ft Bennning, during the land nav course briefing, the NCO told us that because thousands and thousands of students have used this course over the years, there are in fact trails to the points. But then he said that thousands and thousands of students have also failed this course, and they left trails also, so you better use your map and compass as well.
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SGT Aircraft Mechanic
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Don't forget to convert your grid azimuth to a magnetic azimuth. TC 3-25.26 is where you want to look if you're questioning your land nav abilities.
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SGT Petroleum Supply Specialist
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Glad for the reference SGT. Thanks
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