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ROTC holds training exercises

Christian Myers | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This weekend, underclassmen of the Fightin’ Irish Army ROTC Battalion took the chance to apply their knowledge in the field — literally.

The group held its Notre Dame Field Training Exercise (NDFTX) at the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Ind., Friday to Sunday. Forty freshmen and sophomore cadets participated.

Lindsay Miller, a senior at Bethel College and member of the Battalion, said the weekend provided an opportunity for sophomores to develop their leadership skills.

During the NDFTX, cadets practiced land navigation and five lane drills, Miller said. The drills included four Situational Training Exercise (STX) lane drills — simulation of attacking, reconnaissance, knocking out a bunker and fighting off an ambush.

The final component was a patrolling lane drill, a longer element involving two patrols fighting each other with paintball guns.

“The paintballs made you treat it more realistically. You had to avoid opposing fire,” freshman Chris Lillie said.

Sophomore John Dieckman said he was excited for the chance to demonstrate his leadership skills.

“This is our first opportunity as sophomores to lead,” he said. “I’m hoping to make a solid first impression and make the best of this opportunity.”

Sophomore Eric Dowdey said he emerged from the weekend with stronger group management skills.

“The FTX gave us a great opportunity to be able to lead and to do so without the pressure of actually being graded,” he said. “Personally, I felt very comfortable and my experience reinforced my confidence in my abilities.”

Freshman Megan Maloney said she saw NDFTX as a chance to learn and practice field training exercise drills.

“It’s scary going in, but it should be a lot of fun to learn new things alongside everyone else,” she said.

Freshman Sabina Fischer said she enjoyed applying her knowledge in the spring weather during a weekend of drills and training outdoors.

“I put a lot of the things we’ve learned this year together, and the nice weather helped,” she said.

NDFTX was limited to underclassmen, which freshman Rob McKenna said allowed the participants to develop a sense of camaraderie.

“It was a great experience and you couldn’t ask for better weather,” he said. “Also, since it was just sophomores and freshmen we got more attention from the evaluators and had more unit cohesion.”