Sep 23, 2008

Liberty ROTC cadets conquer Fort Pickett

by Josh Swanson

Approximately 100 Liberty Army ROTC cadets participated in training exercises at Fort Pickett Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center from Sept. 12 through 14 to develop their military skills.

The Liberty cadets’ training included day and night land navigation, rappelling down a 34-foot high tower, an obstacle course, a Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter ride and the field leader’s reaction course.

To pass day-land navigation, the cadets must locate at least five out of the eight points they are assigned within five hours. For night-land navigation, they must find three out of five points within three hours.

The points are signs on top of metal posts that can be found throughout the woods, marsh area and around the lake on the land navigation course. To find the points the cadets use a combination of map reading, compass techniques and the oriention of their positions with the terrain around them.

The cadets are only allowed to use a red lens flashlight for night land navigation. A red lens is used to read the maps at night because the maps are red light readable. It is also more tactically sound to use a red lens because a white light is more visible to an enemy in a combat situation.

The field leader’s reaction course is a group of obstacles where the cadets must work together as a team and use the materials supplied to successfully navigate the obstacle.

Freshman Briana Drinkwater is a member of the ROTC cadets and participated in the training. She is a four-year scholarship cadet majoring in criminal justice and plans to become a military police officer.

Drinkwater said that she enjoyed rappelling at Fort Pickett the most.

“The thing I like most about ROTC is the fact that everyone is almost like family. I absolutely love doing all the physical fitness stuff, but having that foundation there is something that you can always cherish,” Drinkwater said.

Junior Isaac Olsen is one ROTC member that will be attending a Leader Development and Assessment Course during the summer of 2009. This camp is essentially a month-long test that evaluates the cadets between their junior and senior years. Their performance at this camp will influence their army careers in terms of whether they will be active-duty members of the Armed Forces.

Olsen is majoring in criminal justice with a minor in strategic intelligence. He plans to be an infantry officer, and he said that he joined the military because he wants to serve his country.

“I was given ample opportunity to hone my land navigation skills, but I also learned a lot about my leadership skills,” Olsen said.“Through my evaluators, I learned the things that I do well when I’m in a leadership position, but also my deficiencies that I need to work on.”

The Liberty Army ROTC cadets go on one field training exercise during the fall semester. There is another field training exercise during the spring semester and also a special juniors-only exercise that prepares them for the Leader Development and Assessment Course.


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