By: Jacqualyn Lallo
The Reserve Officer Training Corps’ on-campus program trains future military leaders. Throughout the semester, the cadets of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Battalion have several training exercises they must complete every other Friday.
One of these exercises, the Combat Water Survival Test, prepares cadets for unexpected water entry. Cadets are tested on four events that involve a blindfolded plummet from the high dive and a 50-meter swim in uniform and gear. Cadets during this event also learn to use their uniforms as flotation devices, giving them ample training in the case of an unexpected water entry. During CWST this year, cadets set aside any fear of heights or swimming and completed all events successfully.
Another major event for ROTC is the Field Training Exercise. This three-day exercise tests the skills of the junior cadets and integrates the freshman and sophomore cadets. During these three days, cadets are tested on their land navigation skills, Squad Tactical Exercises and Field Leadership Reaction.
On the first day, cadets are sent out into the woods with a map and compass to navigate their way to designated points. They do this during the daylight hours and at night. All together they spend eight hours in the woods searching for these points. The second day includes a full day of squad tactical exercises where cadets spend their time planning and executing missions from sunrise to sunset. The last day presents cadets with the field leadership reaction course, a series of obstacles squads must find ways to overcome. Despite the rain, wind and cold weather during the weekend, everyone stayed motivated and focused for those three days.
Over the course of the semester, cadets get involved in different campus events. During football games, ROTC participates in the cannon crew; often they will allow a non-member of ROTC to pull the cannon. This is a traditional and exciting experience not only for the cadets, but also for those who attend the football games. Cadets have opportunities to participate in program organizations, including Ranger Company, Ranger Challenge and Pershing Rifles.
The Ranger Challenge is tied to the Bold Warrior Challenge, where cadets take part in a series of culminating events. Those who attend are among the most physically and mentally tough, yet they still spend weeks preparing. Events include building a rope bridge to cross a stream, transporting a casualty and Improvised Explosive Device training. Cadets are tested throughout the two-day event on all of these tasks, in which they get an opportunity to put all their skills on display.