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ROTC cadets participate in Field Training Exercise

Peter Durbin | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A group of Army ROTC cadets from Notre Dame and other Indiana colleges put their training to the test last weekend when they travelled to Fort Custer in Augusta, Mich., to participate in a Field Training Exercise (FTX).

Saint Mary’s senior Katie Roitz said 70 cadets were involved in the exercise from schools including Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Indiana University in South Bend, Bethel College and Valparaiso University.

“[The exercises are an] opportunity to be challenged during land navigation assessments, garrison leadership positions, and during all Situational Training Exercise lane training,” Roitz said.

Roitz said the events took place throughout the day, as cadets were required to complete both day and night land navigation exercises requiring cadets to locate and plot a number of points on a map.

“They had to figure out their pace count and correctly use … their compass in order to find these points”, Roitz said.

The cadets were split into different squads and given various tasks to complete, Roitz said. Each was designed to test how the cadets would fare in real-world scenarios.

“[The tasks] helped with their leadership skills and how to act in various situations,” she said.

Cadets were designated leadership duties in various capacities on a daily basis, Roitz said.

“[It offered an] opportunity to be exposed to the responsibilities of both company-level leadership as well was squad level leadership in the garrison environment.”

Freshman cadet Brett Quick said she enjoyed the leadership tasks the most.

“It was cool to make decisions and look out for people,” Quick said.

Developing leadership skills in FTX is integral to preparing cadets for Leadership Development and Assessment Course, a required summer program, Roitz said.

“FTX built upon the fundamentals the cadets have learned in previous labs and classes and used those skill during this event,” she said. “It better prepares the [cadet] class for their summer camp and gives them an opportunity for various leadership positions.”

Quick said the experience was exhausting.

“The most difficult part of the weekend was the lack of sleep and cold,” he said.

Despite the business of the weekend, the ROTC students found time for one important leisure activity.

“We got to watch the football game,” he said.