ROTC participates in field training exercise
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 14:10
On Oct. 12 - 14, the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) headed to Camp Dawson, W.Va., for a weekend of field training exercises.
The 128 cadets and eight cadres left Indiana on Friday morning, and from the moment they arrived at Camp Dawson, started their training.
The training is meant to provide a realistic, hands-on alternative to classic classroom training, allowing better preparation for students that may be contracted into the Army.
“All the cadets know about the military is what we do on campus,” Cadet Captain Nick Bare (senior, nutrition) said. “Bringing them into the military atmosphere really helps them expand what they know and prepares them.”
On campus, ROTC students participate in regular physical training exercises and weekly labs that teach them military tactics.
During field training, the cadets live in barracks, eat MREs (pre-packaged military meals) and perform activities that test their physical strengths and weaknesses.
After setting up the barracks on Friday, the cadets split off into three groups.
They tested their abilities on an obstacle course consisting of exercises like getting over barriers without the use of their hands, climbing ropes and “army-crawling” under wire.
Each group was trained how to do each part of the course individually under supervision, and then were tested on the entire course at once, timed.
Simultaneously, another group of cadets were at the 60-foot high rappel tower.
Quite a few of the students were forced to face their fear of heights right there and then, as they learned how to use their hands and feet to get down a wall, with the help of a fellow student, acting as a belay, manning the ropes at the end.
Brandon Grieff, Public Affairs Officer for the ROTC, said that the rappel tower is one of the hardest activities that the students endured through over the weekend.
“It makes them go out of their comfort zone,” Grieff said. “They have to learn to trust one another, to trust the person at the bottom.”
The third group, the juniors, known as MS3s in the program, were busy all weekend performing squad-tactic exercises and preparing for the Leader Development and Assessment Course, a 29-day program in which ROTC students get tested in common soldier skills, such as grenade assault, rappelling and how to use U.S. weapons.
On day two, the freshman and sophomore cadets did a land-navigation exercise in which they had to plot points on a map using only a protractor and compass. When they got to each point, they punched a hole in their maps signifying that they made it there.
ROTC students participated in shoot-house training, where they cleared rooms in a mock-Afghani village using paintball guns as weapons.
After practice, they separated into teams to battle each other.
The main goal of the event was for ROTC students to strategize, work together and get a feel for what war can be like.