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Training The Leaders of Tomorrow
by Army Sgt. William Hill - April 11, 2012

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Tyler Gramlin from Borden, Ind., a freshman Army ROTC cadet at Indiana State University, provides security during a two-day Combined Field Training Exercise at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, March 31, 2012. Photo by Army Sgt. William Hill
Tyler Gramlin from Borden, Ind., a freshman Army ROTC cadet at Indiana State University, provides security during a two-day Combined Field Training Exercise at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, March 31, 2012. Photo by Army Sgt. William Hill

 EDINBURGH, Ind. (4/3/2012) -- It was not a typical learning day for more than 500 college students as they learned how to rappel from a 45-foot rappel tower, experienced a vehicle roll-over and played capture the flag with paintball guns. But they are not typical students; they are Army ROTC cadets.

More than 500 Army ROTC cadets from 14 colleges and universities participated in a two-day Spring Combined Field Training Exercise at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, March 30 through 31.

The exercise consisted of tactical movement training, rappelling, clearing buildings, day and night land navigation, a field leader reaction course and several other critical skill-set training exercises which are designed to mentally and physically challenge the cadets.

Lt. Col. Brian Freidhoff, a professor of military science said, “We have decided among the other school leadership to come together for our spring field training exercise primarily because it closely replicates what our
juniors are going to have to experience at the leader development and assessment course.”

 Freidhoff said the obstacles the cadets overcome require a little bit of physical endurance, but primarily, their leadership is what is evaluated.

“Primarily, their leadership is what we are here to evaluate, and there is no one right solution to get through the obstacles. And the fact is, if they don't get through it, that is not even necessarily the most important thing. It is how they use their skills and decision making process in order to negotiate the obstacle and come up with the solution to do it,” said Freidhoff.

He said having the cadets from different university and colleges all come together to participate in the exercise not only allows them to meet other like-minded individuals, but more importantly, it brings the cadets out of their comfort level.

“Most of our cadets are evaluated by their universities and colleges with people they are familiar with and there is somewhat of a comfort level that is achieved when you are familiar with people, so we bring them out here and mix them up into squads where they don't know anyone else. It creates a new group dynamic that allows them the opportunity to lead in an environment where they are not comfortable with everyone,” he said.

Shaun Redden, from Cincinnati, a senior Army ROTC cadet with Xavier University said the combined field training exercise prepares cadets for their future military careers.

“I think it really gives us an opportunity to prepare for what we are doing in less than a year. I have been with my classmates for four years so I know their leadership styles and I know how they work, but these cadets from other schools, we haven't had much exposure with so it is a good tool to help us prepare for our first unit that we are going to go to,” said Redden.

Redden added that the training they received during the exercise not only helps the cadets graduate ROTC but will be utilized throughout their military career.

“These are basic soldier skills that they are learning and is something they will continue to use throughout their career, especially when you graduate ROTC as a young officer, you will be leading smaller units and these are tactics you will be using,” he said.

While undertaking the intense training, the cadets are not only learning valuable lifesaving skills, they also are having fun.

Kelsey Price, from Bloomington, Ind., a freshman Army ROTC cadet with Indiana University said she enjoyed the realism of the M16 simulator and the Humvee roll over training simulator.

“It is awesome but it is cold, and it rained a lot yesterday, but so far the time has been awesome. I love getting out in the field and doing stuff like this. It is way better than sitting in a classroom,” said Price.

As the sun sets, the students finish their training exercise, for tomorrow, some will an awaken leaders on a career path to greatness.

More photos available below

By Army Sgt. William Hill
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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