Army ROTC spends weekend practicing tactical missions

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Over 50 TCU Army ROTC cadets camped out at Shoreview Armory this weekend to learn about leadership, discipline and life in the army during The Fall Field Training Exercise. The exercise is an annual training in the Fall led by senior cadets.

Captain Bradley Herkimer, assistant professor of military science, said he is teaching his cadets more than what army textbooks teach.

“This weekend is about making leaders,” Herkimer said. “It is going to be hard, but I am teaching them lessons that will impact them far after their time in the army.”

The training puts cadets into different situations to test what they are capable of. Sophie Everaert, a junior MS3, said she was worried at first because she had never led a lane.

A lane is similar to a mission in the army. Everaert said squad leaders must develop a plan, brief their soldiers and execute the plan in the field.

The seniors acted as the opposing force and attacked the squads with paintball guns as they executed their lanes to make the training feel like life in the army.

“This weekend has been such a great learning experience,” Everaert said. “I am so excited to take all that knowledge forward and apply it to my future lanes.”

Herkimer said the weekend isn’t meant to develop master tacticians.

“We are trying to evaluate if they are able to communicate, lead by example and study beforehand,” Herkimer said. “After this weekend we want soldiers who are confident in their leadership abilities and can effectively communicate with their peers.”

Zachary Stuart, a senior MS4, said he has seen a lot of motivation this weekend.

“A lot of the first and second year cadets have built up a lot of leadership and are showing initiative,” he said.

One unique aspect of the weekend was the chance for cadets to ride in three Black Hawk helicopters.

Carter Howell, a senior MS4, said Black Hawks have never come to their trainings.

“This is an awesome opportunity for us,” she said. “Most cadets have never even seen a Black Hawk, and now we get to ride in one.”

The cadets ate, slept and acted like they were in the army. They ate a meal ready to eat, or MRE, during the day.

An MRE comes in a vacuum sealed bag with different types of food. There is another bag inside that heats up the food. Soldiers add the food to the heating bag, pour in water and wait for the food to heat up.

There will be a bigger training offered at the beginning of next year for the cadets. Programs from the University of North Texas, Baylor and the University of Texas at Arlington will join with TCU at Fort Walters to train in the spring.

For more information on the TCU Army ROTC program, visit their website.