Dozens of cadets and ROTC support staff from seven universities in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula combined for 10 days of field training Aug. 7-16 at Fort McCoy.
“This summer, because of COVID, the normal summer training that we do down at Fort Knox (Ky.) got canceled for trying to mitigate against COVID-19, so we brought that training out here to Fort McCoy,” said Maj. Dan Bartlett, professor of military science at the Marquette University ROTC program in Milwaukee and operations officer for the training. “We conducted training through a situational exercise and tactics. We also completed weapons training with M4s at live-fire ranges, and we held land-navigation training.”
The team of cadre leading the training were designated as “Task Force McCoy.” Bartlett said the cadets performed well.
“This is one of those culminating types of exercises for ROTC cadets,” Bartlett said. “Normally this kind of training takes place between the junior and senior year in the program. It’s really an assessment of their leadership abilities, and we are testing them on those abilities in fairly stressful environments. Once they successfully complete this kind of training, that makes us confident we can push them out to the Army force next year, and they will be competent and valued additions to the force.”
Capt. Terry Battison, also a professor of military science at the Marquette University ROTC program, said that when the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the country, these cadets missed out on a lot of opportunities.
“So we organized the most realistic tactical training we could provide them in order to challenge them and bring out leader attributes and competencies where we can assess their future leadership potential,” Battison said.
Battison said that throughout the training, he saw the skills of the cadets grow and teamwork come into play.
“It’s always tough when you put cadets together from different universities,” Battison said. “On day one, you can see some friction between them, but as time goes on, you see them starting to mesh, and their patience increases. You also start to see them making those bonds of friendship.”
The field training also helps the cadets develop their skills, Battison said.
“As an officer, one thing that is expected of us is to be critical and analytical thinkers,” Battison said. “So in this training, with the cadets receiving these challenges and us seeing how they approach and tackle them is very important.”
ROTC Cadet Meaghan Ambelang with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) was one of the cadets in the training. She said the training was valuable.
“For me it was exciting,” Ambelang said. “I have learned a lot of new techniques and ways to execute a lot of the missions. It’s a lot easier to learn these things when you are doing these things in person (in the field) and having the cadre helping you out.
“I learn by doing hands-on training,” she said. “So being able to come to the field (at Fort McCoy) … works really well.”
Cadet Mason Boucher, also from UWSP, said he was glad to finally get to some training.
“This year has been pretty crazy, and I have to say that because of school being closed down and training being closed that I came here a little worried,” Boucher said. “But after working with the cadre and working out here, my confidence level has gone up significantly. I feel like a better Soldier and cadet. I’m looking forward to leading Soldiers, and I’m looking forward to further developing my skills and advancing my career in the Army in the future.”
Learn more about Army ROTC by visiting https://www.army.mil/rotc.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”