Apr 152009
Authors: Ryan Sheine

This weekend, about 100 of CSU’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corp cadets will head south to navigate through the nighttime forest, escape from a prisoner-of-war camp and train in basic military operations.

Thursday afternoon ROTC cadets from CSU will join about 100 ROTC cadets from University of Wyoming, around a dozen Air Force ROTC cadets and several supervising military science professors for a trip to Jack’s Valley for a Joint Field Training Exercise.

Richard Smith, a civil affairs and communications officer, said the JFTX runs for four days starting Thursday afternoon when the cadets leave and ending Sunday afternoon when the cadets return home.

On Friday, the cadets will be doing a navigation course. The cadets have four to five hours to identify within 10 meters a specific grid square using only a map, compass and protractor. There are eight points to plot from the starting point, and each point has a pole with a different letter and number to prove the cadets find the pole. Finding five out of eight is counted as passing the course.

Following the navigation course, cadets will take part in Field Logistics Readiness Centers. The cadets will be faced with scenarios that require problem solving. The solutions to these scenarios can be found, Smith said, but are not easily apparent. An example of a background scenario the ROTC cadets may face is prisoner-of-war scenario where he or she must escape captivity with guards surrounding an internment cell.

After, the FRLC cadets will do another navigation course, but this will be a nighttime course where the cadets are allowed to use light only in a limited capacity. Trying to simulate a real battlefield situation, the cadets cannot use flashlights or other artificial sources of light in a way that enemies may notice. There are five points the cadets can find, and they need to find three of the five to pass.

At 11 p.m. the cadets move to patrol based operations. They will set up a perimeter to patrol, and simulated enemies will probe the cadets as they make sure the perimeter is secure.

On Saturday, the ROTC cadets will begin Squad Training Exercises. There are three junior-level students in a squad of 10 to 12 cadets, Smith said.

Each squad is given a mission in which they are trained how to accomplish different basic military assignments. The assignments include, but are not limited to: ambush, contact, attack, knock out an enemy bunker, recon, civilians on the battlefield, reacting to media and traffic control points.

The juniors are being evaluated on how well they perform. They have been trained how to perform missions and the STX’s are the execution phase.

“I have never seen them performed perfectly. This is an opportunity for the juniors to learn from their mistakes,” Smith said.

Saturday ends with the cadets cleaning their weapons around 6 p.m., and on Sunday morning, the cadets take down their tents and return home.

Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at news@collegian.com

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