BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Tarleton’s Army ROTC and Corp of Cadets is taking Camp Bowie in Brownwood by storm this weekend as part of a joint field training exercise with
The exercise is designed to place cadets in leadership roles on various missions that will include orienteering and land navigation, reconnaissance, mission planning and more. Training with cadets from other universities throws Tarleton’s cadets into an atmosphere much like that they will face at advanced camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky and even in later in the military careers.
Currently, cadets are learning from their instructors and peers and acting as an individual unit much like being in the Army as a platoon or company. When platoons and companies mass together as battalions or even larger units, military leaders are often placed in training or combat with total strangers.
While every year of ROTC training is essential, it’s generally the summer between a cadet’s junior and senior years that is the most important. That’s when cadets attend Advanced Camp where what they have been taught comes under extreme testing under often harsh conditions. Over the years Tarleton’s ROTC program has been at Fort Riley, Kansas and later at Fort Lewis, Washington.
The times do change and now with cadets enjoy running the physical training tests through the rolling hills of Kentucky and come together at the Fort Knox. The Fort is famous for holding 5,000 tons of gold bullion in its depository, General George Patton’s Museum of Leadership and the United State Army Armor School.
Gathered at the Stephenville Municipal Airport Friday morning the three schools ROTC instructors began their evaluations of their cadets as they branched out and began coordinating with other school’s cadets and planning out their missions.
Two Chinook and a Black Helicopter awaited the cadets who flew to Brownwood aboard the massive birds across the skies of Erath County. For some, it was the first trip up into the wild blue yonder, and the excitement level was high as cadets got their safety briefings before flying.
Once at Camp Bowie cadets will conduct leadership missions as they will at summer camp. Those leadership roles will change from mission to mission. Everything is watched by the cadre who make evaluations of how cadets lead and follow because both are equally important in helping toward success.
Speaking of success, Tarleton’s Ranger Challenge team is the only Texas team headed to the elite Sandhurst Military Skills Competition being held at West Point. The two-day event includes equipment inspection, communications, weapon handling, swift movement, shooting, and land navigation.