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    University of North Carolina U.S. Army ROTC cadets tackle three-day field exercise

    UNC Tar Heel ROTC cadets complete fall semester field training exercise at Camp Butner

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Christina Dion | More than 65 Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from the University of North...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Christina Dion 

    319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    CAMP BUTNER, N.C. – The day began at 2:45 a.m. with almost 70 college students getting ready for a six-mile ruck march, which would be followed by the Engagement Skills Trainer, individual tactical skills training, another two and-a-half mile ruck march, an obstacle course, day land navigation and finally night land navigation.

    These aren’t typical college student activities, but this is a new normal for many of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill “Tar Heel” Battalion Reserve Officer Training Corp cadets who were in attendance of the spring semester field training exercise Sept. 27-29.

    There are three-day field training exercises in the spring and fall semesters that are planned and operated by the junior and senior cadets.

    The purpose is to teach these future leaders how to plan and execute operations, or events, while the newer freshman and sophomores learn basic individual skills, said 2nd Lt. Jasmine Johnson, an aviation officer in the North Carolina Army National Guard and recent graduate of the UNC ROTC program.

    While there are professors, or cadre, in attendance to guide and oversee all aspects of the exercise, the planning and execution was conducted by the senior cadets.

    “As the S3 [plans and operations officer] of the FTX, I was over the entire planning process,” said Cadet Brady Miller, a senior at UNC. “When I first talked to Lt. Col. (Dan) Snow about it, he said you have the reins to the entire FTX. It was more of figuring out what events we were going to run, who was going to run them and checking on planning of the initial events to make sure it all fit together into one massive piece.”

    While Miller and the more senior cadets focused on the planning and execution, the newer cadets focused on individual Soldier tasks.

    “This particular FTX is a portion of their cadet progression and they focused on individual Soldier tasks,” said Miller. “The things we are doing out here such as ruck marches, applying face camo, learning basic rifle marksmanship skills through the EST range, learning how to identify the different parts of the hand grenade, how to employ the hand grenade, the obstacle course to build confidence in themselves, and anything you would need to know as a Soldier.”

    The cadets didn’t jump into this exercise without prior training, however. “This is a culmination of the training we’ve been doing over the last several weeks in our leadership labs, which we have weekly for two hours,” Miller explained.

    It’s one thing to learn in the classroom environment, but it’s a different learning experience when students go out in the field to test what they’ve learned.

    Part of this training is pushing the cadets outside their comfort zones, said Lt. Col. Dan Snow, the department chair and professor of military science at UNC.

    Some cadets faced fears of heights on the obstacle course and physical discomfort while completing the ruck marches. They all had to function and stay alert on minimal sleep and still maintain themselves, their gear and complete each task given.

    “This FTX is the foundation for what they will learn for the rest of the year,” Miller said.
    Cadets will move on to squad-level tasks, and then next semester they will focus on platoon-level tactics.

    As the cadets move up in the program, they move from followers to leaders, he said. When they move from freshman and sophomores to junior and seniors, they must be able to train and lead the new freshman and sophomores under them.

    Every student who participates in ROTC has two hours of Army lecture and labs per week, physical training three to five days a week as a group, and three-day FTXs each quarter over those four years of college. Additionally, they all attend the 37-day Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox between their junior and senior year of college.

    Not every cadet that completes the ROTC program will choose to commission in the Army. The skills learned transfer to the civilian workforce as well, said Miller. While Miller is planning to join the North Carolina Army National Guard after he graduates, he also plans to be a civilian police officer.

    He said the training he received is invaluable for both of his career choices.

    All the skills learned in the military as far as leadership goes, are crucial in the civilian sector, Miller said. “The overall skills you learn of how to take care of people is crucial to being successful in civilian life. No matter what field you are in. You have to take care of your people. You have to be able to lead. You have to have the discipline to do your own job.”

    ROTC produces approximately 70 percent of the officers entering the Army each year and is available through nearly 1,000 college campuses nationwide ranging from Harvard to Berkley -- from Tufts to Ohio State.



    Date Taken: 09.28.2019
    Date Posted: 10.07.2019 14:11
    Story ID: 346341
    Location: ROUGEMONT, NC, US 

    Web Views: 95
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