Cameron University ROTC cadets train on Soldier skills
September 27, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Cameron University's Army ROTC program conducted its fall semester field training exercise at Camp Eagle on Fort Sill Sept. 21-23.
Almost 70 cadets participated in the senior-cadet led training, which pushed students to their limits in Soldier skills, such as night land navigation, physical training, squad patrol exercises and leadership development.
"This is a chance for the younger students to get exposed to the Army, to get the flavor, to see if this is what they want to commit to," said Lt. Col. Dave Zaccheus, CU Department of Military Science commander. "For our juniors it is preparation for the Leadership Development and Assessment Course, and for the seniors it is a way for us to evaluate their leadership abilities and how they are managing the battalion."
The 10-member ROTC cadre spent 54 continuous hours with the three platoons of cadets during the FTX, said Zaccheus. During the entire semester the staff only sees the 103 cadets for about 45 hours.
The FTX began with a 2.2-mile morning foot march Sept. 21 outside Camp Eagle, said Brandon
Marcoux, Operations and Training senior cadet. Then came a five-hour day land navigation, where cadets had to find at least five of eight points on the course. That afternoon cadets participated in six classes in field survival, i.e., tent set up, field hygiene and squad attacks.
The freshmen and sophomore cadets were being trained during the FTX, while the juniors were being tested on the training, Marcoux said.
Cadet Brandon Ferraz, a junior, said the FTX was effective because they weren't under time restraints.
"We're able to train to a standard instead of a time. If we attempt the training and don't complete it satisfactorily, then we are able to retrain on it," said Ferraz, a former active duty Army Soldier.
After a 5 a.m. wake up and chow Sept. 22, cadets spent the morning at the Field Leader's Reaction Course, where individuals were evaluated on how they led a squad of six to eight cadets through an obstacle. For example, they directed cadets who linked boards on top of posts to get to another point, said Carl Womack, a cadet senior and ROTC spokesman for the FTX.
Then came the Combat Confidence Course that tested cadets' agility, strength and speed. That evening they performed night land navigation until about midnight.
The FTX was going well, it was very organized and the weather was great, said Cadet Maria Negrete, a junior, on the afternoon of Day 1.
"Last semester it rained on us the second day," she said.
The last day of training included Situational Training Exercise lanes, or STX, where cadets had to perform a mission as part of a squad or platoon on a patrol.
Ariel Bergeron, a senior cadet and Army reservist, has participated in three CU FTXs. She said the FTX is especially challenging for the new cadets.
"For college students who have never experienced the Army life it is a complete-180 for them," said Bergeron, who is also an Army spouse. "It's like going into Basic Combat Training."