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Cadets to participate in training session

LIZ O'DONNELL | Friday, April 16, 2010

Members of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Army R.O.T.C. program will travel to Culver Military Academy this weekend to participate in training exercises.

Cadet Captain Elaine Teske, a Saint Mary’s senior, said the freshman and sophomore cadets in the program will take the reigns and lead the other cadets through tactical training exercises.

Almost 60 freshmen and sophomores will be in attendance, as will 10 juniors and 14 seniors. Teske said the upperclassmen will take on different roles.

“Juniors go along to act as ‘OP4,’ or oppositional force,” she said. “Basically, they take on the role of the enemies in the tactical situations.”

Teske said seniors will assume more of a mentoring and guiding role.

“Seniors did all the planning, and will take on more of a mentoring position,” she said. “This is the first time sophomores and freshmen are exposed to a bigger leadership role for the weekend. It’s just a big learning experience, it’s not supposed to be stressful or anything.”

Teske said the cadets will start Friday afternoon with a night land navigation exercise. It will begin during the daylight hours, but it will be dark by the time they finish.

On Saturday, the cadets will continue with their training, and each sophomore will lead a different group of cadets.

“Saturday they’ll get up pretty early to do situational tactical exercises,” Teske said. “Each sophomore will get the opportunity to be in a leadership position and will be in a tactical leadership environment. This is an opportunity to show how they will react in a tactical environment and how they will lead under pressure.”

After the completion of the exercises, the cadets will take part in a barbecue and then continue with another night land navigation.

“Basically [the cadets] have a map and a compass and five points and they have to plot their points on the map and plot them on a piece of paper,” Teske said. “This is to reinforce land navigation skills they’ve been taught and use them in a practical exercise.”

On Sunday the sophomore cadets will be given the responsibility of leading an even larger squad of people.

“Sunday is patrolling, [which is] platoon-sized and there’s more people involved,” she said. “The cadets are doing the same thing they did Saturday, but now they just have more people to lead.”

The weekend’s activities will end with a force-on-force paintball competition Sunday afternoon before the squad heads home.

In addition to the members of the R.O.T.C. programs from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, members from Holy Cross College, Bethel College, Indiana University South Bend and Valparaiso University will also participate in the weekend.

Teske said this training weekend has taken place every year since she’s been a part of the program.

“This has been going on for a while,” she said. “I’m a senior and we’ve done it every year. It’s a culminating activity that we do in the spring.”