FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Approximately 64 Army Cadets from Niagara University and Canisius College flew out of Niagara University to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, Apr. 14, to conduct their annual Joint Leadership Field Training Exercise (JLFX) at Fort Drum.
The JLFX is designed to give the cadets an opportunity to refine and further develop their critical thinking and decisive leadership skills as they navigate through a series of common Soldier tasks and battle drills for four days.
"During this training event, the cadets will gain confidence in their abilities to make decisions in stressful environments," said Capt. Andrew Eggers, assistant professor of military science at Niagara University. "They will be thrown into a group of individuals they do not know and will build a team and work together throughout the duration of the event."
To make the exercise more realistic Niagara University ROTC coordinated for 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, air movement support.
For some of the cadets this was the first time they had flown in UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, which further increased their levels of excitement and anticipation.
"When we were told we were flying, I thought it was too good to be true," said Cadet Caleb Goldfus, a freshman at Niagara University. "I was certain the air movement would get cancelled due to rain, but it's pretty cool we're actually doing this."
According to Eggers, last year Niagara University ROTC coordinated for air movement support; however, due to inclement weather the movement was cancelled. Nonetheless, Eggers, who is also an Army pilot, used that initial coordinating piece as a learning tool for this year's air movement support.
The initial pick-up at Niagara University was flawless. The cadets were broken down into four groups and were sent to stage themselves with an Army Pathfinder from 2-10 Assault Helicopter Battalion.
From there, four Black Hawk helicopters arrived to pick up the first ten cadets from each group, making a total of two trips from the university to Niagara Falls International Airport. Once all the cadets were accounted for, they were then transported by 15 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield -- making this the largest and longest air movement for the 2-10 Assault Helicopter Battalion.
Lt. Col. Gary Love, professor of military science at Niagara University, was pleased with the assistance they received from 2-10 Assault Helicopter Battalion.
"This was a fantastic operation overall," he said. "The cadets absolutely loved this [air movement] and it had a huge impact on the university. I want to thank the 10th CAB, specifically Lt. Col. Noma Martini and his team for putting this together."