The U.S. Army hosts Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from various schools across the U.S. during the late summer each year, temporarily assigning them to units for leadership experience. Cadets who join the ranks of the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division gain a unique experience from the Army's only permanently-forward stationed, combined division.
Cadet Troop Leadership Training (CTLT), as the program is called, is an opportunity for cadets to temporarily join the U.S. Army's formations during their initial entry training and gain firsthand experience.
"The CTLT program gives you the knowledge and experience about how the 'real Army' works and the role of the L-T (lieutenant)," said Cadet Michael Bertlesman, a Plainview, New York native who trained with the 210th Field Artillery Brigade. "It's a really refreshing experience to come here and see how it all works."
The cadets work alongside officer leadership at the platoon level and receive an officer evaluation report of their performance following their assignment.
"Since being here, I've spent time with the platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Seth Maddy, working on memos, awards, (vehicle) dispatches, planning (weapons) ranges, FTX's (field training exercises), learning platoon leader tasks," Bertlesman said.
"Being a CTLT sponsor, it gives affirmation of your own knowledge because you don't realize how much you learned until seeing the impact of knowledge you share," said Maddy, a fires platoon leader with 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment and Gilbert, Arizona native.
More than 60 cadets joined the division, assigned across five units: Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Rotational), and 210th Field Artillery Brigade.
The Republic of Korea offers a unique perspective for cadets like Bertlesman.
"It's interesting to be at the northern most post on the peninsula and the mindset of all the Soldiers and commands assigned to Camp Casey," Bertlesman said. "It's also interesting to see Western culture that Korea has embraced. I went to a baseball game and saw how 'into it' the local fans were."
Maddy shares Bertlesman's perspective as he himself participated in the CTLT program prior to commissioning as an officer.
"I did the CTLT program also via OCS at (Fort) Benning," said Maddy. I can fully understand where he came from. This is the closest he (Cadet Bertlesman) will get to being deployed without being on a combat deployment because of the high OPTEMPO (operational tempo)."
Maddy also expressed the importance of cadets experiencing the interaction platoon leaders have with junior enlisted Soldiers and noncommissioned officers.
The 2ID/RUCD hosted the CTLT cadets for two iterations, July 11 - August 7, then July 16 - August 12.