I’m often asked what ROTC class is like. In my next few blogs I’d like to talk about what each year’s ROTC class is like. Keep in mind that each ROTC Battalion does things a little bit different. Things such as weather in their part of the country, size of the program, and proximity to training facilities will effect how the Battalion trains. There is a standardized Program of Instruction (POI) the Cadet Command expects to be taught, but this POI can be executed many ways.
So I will describe how we train in Clarkson University’s Golden Knight Battalion, in Northern New York, an hour North of Fort Drum, New York, home of the 10th Mountain Division. We are a good sized program at a relatively small University. We have approximately 100 cadets from 4 schools which are all within a 15 minute drive of the host campus. We have a very supportive University, and have training facilities that include a rappel tower and wooded terrain on campus, a local civilian range, and a major military post within an hour’s drive.
So let’s talk about freshman year. We teach freshman class once a week. Subjects include map reading, customs and courtesies, introduction to tactics, and military communications. We will familiarize the new cadets with the 7 Army values, Warrior Ethos, and the LDP process. ROTC is a course that teaches small unit leadership and management, so things like troop leading procedures and the 5 paragraph operations order format are important tools the new cadet will get exposed to.
Along with our class we hold a 2 hour lab most Thursday afternoons. This is where all the cadets from all 4 year groups come together to conduct collective training. Last week’s lab was our US weapons lab. We visited a local Reserve Center in Canton, New York, and got the opportunity for some hands on familiarization with Army equipment and weapons like night vision devices and MK-19 grenade launchers. This week’s lab was our annual awards ceremony lab and dress uniform inspection. Some of the labs involve adventure training, like the rappel lab in the fall or the snowshoeing lab held a month ago. In the fall we also learn the basic battle drills. These labs usually involve paintball.
I almost forgot to mention PT. Here in the GKB we conduct PT 3 days a week. The juniors preparing for camp in the spring and the Ranger Challenge team in the fall are doing PT 5-6 days a week, but the freshmen are expected to come to PT Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.