ROTC Cadets Complete Field Training Exercise

For some students, class ends on Friday and a weekend of studying, working or even relaxation ensues, but for Army ROTC cadets a weekend of training is ready to begin. Cadets arrive at the ROTC building dressed in uniform, equipment on, and their backpacks (that look like they have been injected with steroids) overflowing with gear. Rain showers are in the forecast but the cadets show no sign of dismay. For some this will be their first time at a military training event and for others this will be a weekend to improve their skills.

Reserve Officer Training Corps, or, ROTC is an elective for some students who wish to try out the program without obligation. These adventurers are there to seek out the excitement of rappelling, patrolling, survival tactics and orienteering. They are learning to be leaders and public servants. They work hard to stay in shape and adjust to the daily rigors of physical fitness. For the junior and senior cadets this weekend is another stepping-stone towards the day when they pin on their Lieutenant bars as Army Officers.

This past weekend cadets from UVM, Saint Michaels College, Middlebury, Castleton State, Champlain, and Lyndon State Colleges participated in the fall semester Field Training Exercise (FTX) at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, VT. Throughout the weekend less experienced cadets received instruction from the seniors These seniors serve as intern officers in the battalion. They were taught marksmanship, leadership/confidence course training, they negotiated the grueling grenade assault course, navigated through the woods with a compass and a map, and took a ride on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.

As cadet officers, the seniors are responsible for coordinating every aspect that goes into an FTX to make it run smoothly, from transportation, to food and equipment. The ability to plan and execute an event requires dedication, teamwork and motivation; these are the tenants of leadership taught in ROTC.

The cadet Battalion Commander, UVM senior Kevin Elmer and his staff officers did exactly that. When they were finished, the cadets were tired, dirty and sore, and most can’t wait until the next FTX in the spring.

Some cadets will stay in the program and become Army Officers. Others will decide that military life isn’t for them. Either way, all will learn about leadership, time management, organization and cooperation from their time in ROTC. As long as they wear the uniform, cadets participate to the best of their ability. They are physically fit, mentally alert, decisive and compassionate about what they do. They are proud of who they are and what they do, and they have a blast doing it!