Rain or shine, 61 Army ROTC cadets will head to the U.S. Army National Guard on Shoreview Drive for a weekend of grueling mental and physical training.
“It’s definitely going to be physically taxing,”Detachment Operations Officer and senior journalism major Beth Griffith said. “They’re going to be out in the cold and it’s supposed to rain. It’s all about physical and mental resiliency.”
Cadets will practice their leadership skills and enhance their military expertise to prepare for a month-long training at Fort Knox in the summer.
“We’re doing Leadership Training Exercise (LTX) in the fall and spring to give them a taste of what they are going to see over the summer,” Griffith said. “It’s going to be tactics based but also focused on leadership abilities and how they react to different scenarios.”
While the training is cadet-driven, a set of cadre including Lt. Col. Casey Randall, Maj. David Weising and Master Sgt. Jamal Jenkins oversee the process.
“It took a lot of planning,” Griffith said. “Each year the seniors bring something they learned from summer training at Fort Knox. Then we come up with the plan and execute the training.”
For now, the maneuvers are classified from junior level cadets. On Thursday, the cadets will get what is referred to as a “road to war brief” on the area of operation. Then, on Saturday they will head out to conduct a series of day and night missions.
“The way we set it up is very much mission-oriented,” said Griffith. “We want to make it as real as possible.”
Although preparing cadets for what they will see in the field is serious business, cadets like junior political science major Aiden Yamada look at it with a sense of adventure.
“It is a great learning experience,” Yamada said. “Being in the field gives you an opportunity to put concepts you have learned over the year into action.”
“I’m expecting a fun weekend filled with learning,” Yamada said.