FORT KNOX, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2013) -- It all begins here for the cadre that will be training more than 1,500 cadets. The Leader Training Course, which began in 1965, is an ROTC summer designed program to develop future officers.

More than 1,500 cadets will travel to Fort Knox for the Leader Training Course, or LTC, which includes rappelling off of a 50-foot high tower, crossing a stream on rope bridges, a high rope obstacle course, combat water survival training and other military skills training such as land navigation. They will learn a variety of operational and leadership approaches.

There will be about 200 cadets per company. Each squad will have a drill sergeant and a newly commissioned lieutenant. Drill Sergeants play a key role during the Leader's Training Course by indoctrinating cadets to the Army.

Throughout the period known as the Soldier First phase, drill sergeants teach students everything from how to make their bunks, military customs and traditions and how to march.

"The cadre comes here prior to the cadet's arrival to prepare and go through all the events to ensure they can meet the test [standards] before challenging the cadets," said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Faulkner, C Co., 4/399th, 104th Division. "The land navigation course is one of many challenges."

For four days cadets will go through map reading, terrain walk, and a basic map test. Land navigation covers a large area of ground with 10 zones, 48 points, and two well-developed sand tables. The area is enclosed by white tape with orange tabs on it warning of unsafe areas, established water points and emergency call areas.

The Army Reserve, 95th and 104th Divisions, are a big part of the land navigation set-up. The course is developed from scratch, and designed for beginners. The TOC monitors using graphic control measures, maps, roving gators, five water points, and 100 percent accountability.

"There is only one way on and one way off," said Capt. Ron Brunner, with the 2/397th Bn., 95th Division. "The tape is to ensure no one wanders off and gets lost. We keep track of everyone on ground. They will be assigned a battle buddy and pass through the main tent placing their name tape on a board, ensuring everyone knows who is out on the trail."

The cadre are validated before the cadets go through the training.

"The cadre are required to be familiar with the course and complete the same requirements as the cadets in order to train them," said Sgt. 1st Class James Taft, a drill sergeant with 2/397th, 95th Division. "The cadre take written exams plotting points, pace count, terrain assessment, instructing cadets on compass use and finding the four out of five points. Tonight will also be night land navigation that will last until sometime after midnight."

But these are not the only skills that the cadets will take away from their 29 days of training. Along with leadership skills, cadets will learn teamwork in the team building exercises such as the stream crossing training.

"One exercise, run by the active Army, is to build a raft, support two personnel on the raft by taking them out across the water and back to shore safely," Taft explained. "Another group takes a raft, as a team, runs around a course and into the water. While in the water, they flip the raft over and back, and paddle safely back to shore."

Also working as a team is the Army Reserve and active Army to ensure the cadets will graduate successfully.

The Leader Training Course is led by the U.S. Army Cadet Command's 1st Brigade, which encompasses 11 senior and junior military colleges across the country. For cadets not previously enrolled in ROTC during their freshman or sophomore years in college, LTC prepares college students for entry into the Senior Army ROTC program and helps prepare them to eventually commission into the Army.

This year's LTC class graduated Aug. 11.