SALINAS, Puerto Rico- Approximately 100 U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets from Puerto Rico tested their ability to lead in tactical combat situations, under stressful conditions, during their summer camp, known as Operation Agile Leader, Aug. 4, at Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Training Center.
The cadets, who were divided in three platoons, are from the Bulldog Warrior Battalion, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, and the Taino Warrior Battalion, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.
The tactical exercise included the ambush training, which simulated an attack that tested the cadets’ ability to react to an unexpected enemy encounter, while moving in tactical formations. Cadets also had the opportunity to conduct a reconnaissance mission, where they had to gather intelligence from enemy forces in order to gain advantage over a determined objective.
“This type of training normally is conducted on a 35 day time frame, but due to COVID-19 it has been condensed into an eight days training,” said Lt. Col. Orlando R. Rojas, Professor of Military Science at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.
The tactical exercise will continue for the next three days for a total of four days, giving every cadet the opportunity to be graded several times for a combined score that reflects their performance in an Order of Merit List (OML).
“You are smart, you have all the right leadership qualities, but when you put everybody together, not everyone can be number one. That is why we take in account the cadet’s General Point Average and everything they have done in the program as a whole,” said Rojas, while explaining the OML system to the cadets.
Army ROTC is one of the most demanding and successful leadership programs in the country. The training a student received in Army ROTC provides leadership development, military skills and career training. Courses take place both in the classroom and in the field, and are mixed with normal academic studies. Upon completion, an Army ROTC graduate is commissioned as an officer in the Army.