FTX training aims high
Usually, ROTC involves a lot of classroom time, or at least time on campus.
However, Cadets of the “Pride of PA” Army ROTC Battalion recently attended a Field Training Exercise (FTX), and got to get away from Erie and train in a different environment. Over the weekend of September 27-30th, the battalion, including Gannon’s Cadets, traveled to and trained at Fort Indiantown Gap.
FTIG, or “the Gap” is a Pennsylvania National Guard training center, with many resources for training soldiers or, in this case, their future leaders.
While at the Gap, Cadets stayed in open-bay barracks each night and spent all day learning and practicing important skills.
The weekend’s training schedule included Land Navigation, M16 firing range, and the Field Leader’s Reaction Course. On the M16 range, the juniors (MSLIII Cadets) were required to zero their weapons and then qualify with them.
Using paper targets with varying sizes of silhouettes, they “qualified” if they could put at least 26 rounds out of 40 total into the silhouettes.
That day, the MSLI and MSLII Cadets (freshmen and sophomores) took classes on the M16 and other weapons, and then were given some time on the range to fire and get familiar with the M16.
In Land Navigation, Cadets received the grid coordinates for several points, as well as a map, protractor and compass. They could use only those tools to plot and find their points, which were anywhere from 200m to a kilometer apart.
The Field Leader’s Reaction Course gave the Cadets a chance to problem-solve and to lead at the same time. In each “lane,” the Cadets had to negotiate a physical obstacle.
However, this obstacle was a puzzle, with many rules and limited resources making it difficult to get the group across the obstacle in the allotted time.
Like many things in the Army, the Cadets needed teamwork, clear direction, and decisive leadership in order to surmount the FLRC obstacles.
They also needed to trust in their individual skills and knowledge to successfully complete Land Navigation and qualify with the rifles.
In general, the FTX this semester brought out some great leadership qualities, and improved the competency and confidence of the battalion as a whole.
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