Local ROTC students train at Fort Hood

The students were tired, weary, and covered in sweat. The sun beat down as ROTC cadets from UMHB, Central Texas College and Tarleton State University came together Oct. 29-30 for field training exercises.

The Reserve Officer Training Corps is a program instituted by the U.S. Army to train and develop college students seeking to become Army officers.

A squad of trainees receives instruction during an exercise. Students from three local colleges participated in the event. Wesley Ashton/The Bells

A squad of trainees receives instruction during an exercise. Students from three local colleges participated in the event. Wesley Ashton/The Bells

Senior military science instructor, Maj. Chris Jay, said this training “gives us a chance to spend a couple of days without distractions to focus on our situational training.”

Cadets spent one night and two days out on the training course where they sharpened their skills and developed new tactics under the observation of military science instructors.

Junior pre-physical therapy major and third-year military science ROTC cadet, Holly Millican, said, “We received one hot meal, and two meals ready-to-eat, also called MREs. We took them with us and ate what we could throughout the training. We slept out in the woods. Some cadets built hooches while others built tents. Most cadets, though, just slept underneath the stars.”

The training was at Fort Hood area 72. During the attack missions, facilitators and evaluators from different schools graded and scored each cadet’s individual performance as a squad leader, team leader, and radio transmitter operator.

Millican said the field training exercise, or FTX, has “six different types of attacks ambush, recon, squad attack, improvised explosive device, movement to contact, and fortified cache. Each mission is assigned to a military science junior cadet. The training is scheduled each semester for ROTCs across the nation to improve tactical skills for land navigation and situational exercise training lanes.”

A squad leader is responsible for six to eight soldiers  and makes all the decisions of how to react to the situation presented.

Senior interdisciplinary studies major, Alicia Reid, is currently in the U.S. Army in her ninth year of service.

Reid has been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and knows  what it takes to become an Army officer.

“My job at the FTX was to facilitate a lane. Cadets arrived to my lane, and I would read them an operation order. When you’re going through the lanes over and over, it becomes more natural,” Reid said.  “Your leadership skills show even when your situation is out of control. UMHB cadets exemplify Army values but carry the morals and values our school promotes.”

Each mission has three phases. The planning of a mission is when the squad leader receives the mission from headquarters and delivers the information needed to his subordinates. The movement phase consists of progress toward the objective. Lastly the actions on is when the mission is carried out.

Millican, having led several missions, said, “You have to prove you’re a good leader and support other leaders. You have to adapt and overcome because you are operating with others’ standards. We at UMHB are in the minority, but it challenges us to be in front of people and lead.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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