St. Bonaventure ROTC recap week two

By Jacob McCollum

[Image courtesy of]

Napoleon may have said that an army fights on its stomach, but America’s military relies on quick, effective communication just as much as its next meal.

On Thursday Seneca Battalion learned the art of the Operations Order or OPORD. An OPORD is the standardized format in which military planners form and brief their units operations both in garrison and in the field.

The OPORD format is a five paragraph setup that packs nearly incomprehensible information into a neat and orderly letter explaining the finest details of an operation to the men and women carrying it out.  OPORDs branch down from the brigade to the squad level (thousands of troops down to a small group of eight to twelve) and work in such a way that every unit has a specific and well thought out assignment.

“The OPORD is such a crucial part to Army operations because it allows the Army to develop a strong, solid plan and methodology for how [it is] going to conduct any mission,” cadet Robert Russell said.  A MSIII, or junior, at St Bonaventure University, he taught a class at the beginning of Thursday’s lab that explained the OPORD to new MSI’s as well as reviewed it for the more experienced MS II and III’s.  The different classes in ROTC are signified by grade level, so MSI is a freshman, MSII a sophomore, etc.

Russell demonstrated the incredible amounts of information soldiers need to conduct operations on the modern battlefield.  “The OPORD allows information to be distributed in a well organized and easy to understand manner.  It is important to master this skill in ROTC because we are officers in training…. who will be creating and distributing [these] plans.  It is essential that we understand not only the OPORD format but also how to create and distribute OPORDs in an organized and timely matter.”

After the initial brief and review by Russell, Seneca Battalion split into small groups and briefed actual OPORDs to see how much of the staggering amounts of mission essential information they could retain in the small amount of time during the brief.

This is all in preparation for Recon and Ambush tactical exercises in a couple weeks, where Seneca Battalion cadets assigned as squad leaders will use the OPORD format to brief their cadets on the details of their operation.

Until then, Seneca Battalion continues to hone its leadership skills.

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