The Lucky Dip Exercise Part One: A Logistics BOLC Tradition
I participated in GHSA track and cross country for four years in high school and NCAA Cross Country for four years in college, and I have done at least two runs longer than twenty miles. I also attended Basic Combat Training (BCT) at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In short, I have had a lot of tough days where I pushed myself very hard, and that adds meaning to the following statement: the Lucky Dip exercise I participated in at Fort Lee during August 2010 (as a part of the Transportation Basic Officer Leadership Course or T-BOLC) is probably the toughest single day of training I had experienced at that point.
Lucky Dip is a tradition started as a team-building exercise for some of the new Logistics officers passing through the ALU (Army Logistics University). Although it changes and evolves slightly from class to class, the basic purpose of the exercise is what we were repeatedly told: to work together as a team toward an objective under stressful and exhausting conditions. Toward this end, Lucky Dip succeeded very well.
Since our class consisted of about 60 lieutenants, we were divided by our instructors into three groups of about 20 each (my group had 19 soldiers). The day before the exercise, we were given a packing list and an OPORD (an Operations Order; a 5-paragraph set of instructions detailing the mission). The packing list was relatively light; it consisted of a rucksack with some clothing and food, water, an LBV set (Load Bearing Vest; an ammunition and water rig set that wears just like a vest), an ACH helmet (padded combat helmet designed to stop rifle rounds), and a "rubber duck" (a molded plastic training model of an M16 designed to simulate a real one. This is one major item separating Combat Support training from Combat Arms training: the approximate weight of the gear we were told to carry was a total of 30-35 pounds, while Infantry often carry 80 or more pounds. The second major difference is that a majority of Combat Arms training is out in the field practicing combat procedures, and these soldiers often spend numerous sequential days performing exercise of this type. In short, the various branches of the Army are just apples to oranges, and they have different mentalities stemming from their different backgrounds. The next section contains the details of what happened during the Lucky Dip exercise from a participant's point of view.