Understanding the Value of Rehearsals

On November 4, 1979, the US Embassy in Iran was overrun, resulting in 52 Americans being held hostage for the ensuing 444 days. They were released on January 20, 1981. What is less known is that on February 14, 1979, an event occurred which would be known as the Valentine’s Day Open House.

KrausOn this day, militants stormed the US Embassy, kidnapped, tortured, tried, and convicted of murder a US Marine named Kenneth Kraus. To save lives, the US Ambassador to Iran William Sullivan surrendered the Embassy. With the help of the Iranian Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi, the US Embassy was secured into American control within three hours. Kenneth Kraus was released six days later through the work of US President Jimmy Carter and Ambassador Sullivan.

It is not often that we are given the opportunity to predict a future attack on a location. The 1993 World Trade Center bombings came as a prelude to the 9/11 attack. This allowed our first response organizations to try, fail, and then improve their systems through trial and error. It led to a period where conducting emergency response exercises was not limited to internal organizations, but coordinated with external agencies as well.

This has led to large scale response and training coordination to be conducted in major cities and even between foreign militaries. The incorporation of Fire, EMS, Police, and Military elements towards a single event demonstrates the complexity of these trainings. Continuity planning and rehearsals are key at the organizational level so that, regardless of personnel or personalities in each position, each organization knows their roles and responsibilities for a large scale incident.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the Missouri and California National Guard's Homeland Response Force (HRF) assemble medical tents during an emergency response training exercise at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif.
U.S. Airmen assigned to the Missouri and California National Guard’s Homeland Response Force (HRF) assemble medical tents during an emergency response training exercise at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif.

The most important component of this is the rehearsal. Rehearsals are not just a military thing. They are utilized for business continuity planning, disaster and recovery preparation, operational coordination, and even public speech preparation. The point is that, by conducting rehearsals, an organization is better able to prepare itself for an upcoming event as well as train the processes for all parties involved.

In the military we look at rehearsals from different perspectives. We have rehearsals at higher levels called Training Executed Without Troops (TEWT) where senior leaders conduct rehearsals to see how they are able to coordinate fictitious units on the battlefield towards a common goal. We have training for individuals, teams, squads, platoons, companies, combined arms rehearsals, all the way up to full force rehearsals where every individual goes through the steps they would conduct during the event. This helps to ensure that down to the lowest level, each person knows their role and the role of the people around them.

Rehearsals are often the most important and yet most overlooked component to planning. By ensuring that we incorporate them into each and every training event, we provide an opportunity to correct issues before they occur in the real world. We allow room for mistakes up front, and enable our leaders and subordinates the opportunity to immerse themselves in the problem before stress is added to the situation. When conducting planning, ensure that rehearsals have a task, purpose, and dedicated time to aid your organization in mission success.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
Kyle Soler

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