Future leaders train on post
April 15, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Joint Task Force Carson welcomed 253 cadets from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and the University of Colorado, Boulder, for their Spring field exercise at Training Areas 15 and 16, April 12-14.
The Mountain Post provided a support team from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, as well as medics, buses, tents and water, as the Reserve Officer Training Corps took the weekend to bring their cadets one step closer to becoming the Army officers of tomorrow.
Lt. Col. Mark Thompson and Lt. Col. David Rozelle, professors of military science for UCCS and UC Boulder, respectively, and both previously Fort Carson Soldiers, were excited to bring their cadets to work together at Fort Carson. They felt one of the advantages over Jack's Valley at the United States Air Force Academy, where UCCS cadets usually go, is the undeveloped terrain.
"Setting up a new tactical area, setting up a land navigation course, it's a huge challenge," said Thompson. "The students switch out command positions from the fall to the spring. The fall chain of command started the preparation, and then handed it off to the spring chain of command.
"This was a huge improvement over previous years, with cadets working together to create the field exercise," Thompson said. "Working together with different groups is good training."
Being able to set up everything was also seen as a positive experience by the cadets.
"Generally, we use Jack's Valley," said Daniel Meade, cadet, UCCS, a sergeant first class prior to using the active duty option for ROTC. "The whole area wasn't established, we had to create everything, and it challenged cadets to train in a new location."
There are also other benefits for the cadets training at Fort Carson.
Donald Caughey, Enrollment and Scholarship Officer, UCCS, said that ROTC programs are very constrained in terms of resources, so that any time the cadets could receive assistance from a military installation, it greatly enhanced their training.
"You can't run around Colorado Springs with rubberized automatic weapons," said Caughey. "You can make it work, but not as well. This will make them much better prepared for future training."
The cadets also appreciated being able to utilize Fort Carson; one reason being the space available.
"We actually did a land navigation at Palmer Park last spring, but it was a city park, so we have to take that into consideration," said Marvin Starkweather, cadet, Colorado State University, Pueblo. "You have to watch the noise, and you can't camp there."
Starkweather, a senior said this was his seventh field exercise, all on military installations, but this was his first time at Fort Carson.
"Yesterday, I came out at 6 a.m. to set up, and I got to see all different terrain elements; ravines, valleys, mountains," said Starkweather. "It helps out a lot with land navigation. It's not all flat, and helps with (situational training exercise) lanes, not just some forest; there's different terrain to adapt to."
The ambiance of training on an Army base was also a plus.
"I think it's pretty neat. Last night we could hear artillery going off in the distance," said Brianna Riffe, cadet, UCCS, whose mother is a Soldier. "It's a little more like being in the military."
Michelle Arbogast, cadet, UCCS, whose husband is a first lieutenant in field artillery at Fort Carson, said he was very supportive of the cadets training here.
"He thinks it's pretty neat, because I get to see some of the stuff he gets to go through," said Arbogast.
The ROTC programs in Colorado have access to both Army and Air Force facilities.
The number of military installations in Colorado is one of the best assets the local ROTC programs have, said Thompson.
"ROTC is really the premiere officer development program in the Army; either program in Colorado will give people a leg up over other ROTC programs," said Thompson. "I think a lot of local kids are overlooking that opportunity."
Soldiers and Family members interested in pursuing ROTC can contact their post Education Center at 719-526-2124 for application information and more details.