Cadet Summer Activities

Cadet Summer Training Opportunities

During your time in the Marauder Battalion, you may have the opportunity to attend one of many summer training opportunities around the country and the world. Any one of these training opportunities presents unique challenges for gorwth and development as a future Army Leader. Our Battalion sends Cadets to each of these activities every summer, and will continue to do so.

Army Airborne School (ABN)

Airborne Ground Week

During Ground Week, you begin an intensive program of instruction to build individual airborne skills, which will prepare you to make a parachute jump, and land safely. You will train on the mock door, the 34 foot (10 m) tower, and the lateral drift apparatus (LDA). To go forward to Tower Training Week, you must individually qualify on the 34 foot (10 m) tower, the LDA, and pass all PT requirements.

Airborne Tower Week

The individual skills learned during Ground Week are refined during Tower Week and team effort or "mass exit" concept is added to the training. The apparati used this week are the 34-foot towers, the swing landing trainer (SLT), the mock door for mass exit training, the suspended harness, and the 250-foot (76 m) free tower. Tower Week completes your individual skill training and builds team effort skills. To go forward to Jump Training Week you must qualify on the SLT, master the mass exit procedures from the 34-foot (10 m) tower, and pass all PT requirements.

Airborne Jump Week

During Jump Week students must successfully complete five parachute jumps with the T-11 parachute at 1,250 feet from a C-130 or C-17 aircraft. Trainees must run to the air field each day, conduct sustained airborne training, and then don their equipment and await their turn to jump. Prior to jumping their combat equipment each student will conduct a rigging exercise with their instructor to show them the proper rigging of their Airborne Combat Equipment. Generally, two of the jumps are "combat equipment jumps", in which the jumper carries a Molle ruck with MAWC (Modular Airborne Weapons Case), and a dummy weapon. Three jumps are "Hollywood", in that the jumper only wears the parachute and reserve. The last jump will culminate combining the combat equipment with a night jump giving the student a complete understanding of a night combat equipment jump.

Graduation is normally conducted at 0900 during the summer months and 1100 during the winter months on Friday of Jump Week at the south end of Eubanks Field on the Airborne Walk. However, if weather or some other reason delays the scheduled jumps, graduation may be conducted on Fryar Drop Zone (DZ) one hour after the last jump hits the ground.

Guests and family members are welcome to observe all of the jumps at Fryar Drop Zone, attend the graduation ceremony, and participate in awarding the wings to their paratrooper.

Fryar Field DZ is located in Alabama on the Fort Benning Military Reservation. To get to Fryar Field DZ, visitors should drive to Lawson Army Airfield (LAAF). Drive to the right around LAAF. At the stop sign turn right and drive through the post gate, then turn left at the “T” intersection after crossing the Chatahoochee River. After about 5 miles turn right at the “T” intersection and you will be at the Drop Zone. Follow signs to the drop zone parking area. Following graduation you are allowed to depart for leave, or your next duty assignment.




Army Air Assault School (AAS)



Candidates must successfully complete an obstacle course and a two-mile run before they are officially considered “Air Assault Students”.


Candidates will undergo a six-mile march, followed by a strict inspection.


During this three-day phase, candidates will learn aircraft safety and orientation, along with the principles of aero-medical evacuation, pathfinder operations, and combat assault operations among several other topics. Soldiers will be given a written and “hands-on” test following this phase.


During the second three-day phase of Air Assault, candidates will learn how to rig equipment onto rotary aircraft with a sling, an operation that generally requires the loading Soldier to hook a tether to the underbelly of a helicopter hovering just a few feet above the ground. Typical loads can range anywhere from 1,000 to 8,000 pounds.

This operation is extremely precise, and requires intense preparation and concentration from all Air Assault team members. Trainees must pass a written and hands-on test before moving to the next phase.


In the third and final three-day phase of Air Assault training, Soldiers receive basic instruction on ground and aircraft repelling procedures. By the end of the phase, trainees must complete two repels from a 34-foot tower and two repels from a UH-60 Blackhawk, hovering at 70-90 feet. 


Soldiers must complete a 12-mile foot march in full gear plus a rucksack in less than three hours. 

Graduates are awarded the Air Assault Badge and the 2B ASI (Additional Skill Identifier).

Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Program (CULP)

Every year hundreds of Cadets travel the globe, spending up to three weeks immersed in foreign cultures, learning more about how other others around the world view the U.S. and, in the process, learning more about themselves.

The Army recognizes the need for young leaders to develop more cultural awareness and foreign language proficiency skills. Now more than ever, cultural awareness training is a vital component to the ROTC curriculum. Overseas immersions help educate future leaders in ways the classroom cannot.

Cadets now receive opportunity to compete for immersion in more than 40 countries. These opportunities expose them to everyday life in different cultures and intensifies language study, which helps produce commissioned officers who possess the right blend of language and cultural skills required to support global operations in the 21st Century.

Participants experience up to three different venues during immersion, including humanitarian service, host nation military-to-military contact and education on the social, cultural and historical aspects of the country. In 2013, 1,200 ROTC Cadets traveled across the world and participated in Cadet Command's CULP program. The future goal is for at least half of all Cadets to complete a CULP Immersion Internship annually.

CULP students have the opportunities for:

Are you a Cadet and wish to Apply? Click Here!


Cadet Troop Leadership Training (CTLT)

The Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT) provides Cadets the opportunity to experience leadership in Army Table of Organization and equipment (TO&E) units over a three to four week period. Cadets serve in lieutenant-level leadership positions in active-duty units. Platoon Leader positions have a 3-4 week duration depending on the hosting unit and location. Assignments include units that are located CONUS and OCONUS. Cadets are assigned a unit mentor, and are provided on-post lodging and meals via a Dining Facility. This program is exclusively designed for MS III Cadets before and after completion of the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).

There are two leadership opportunities within the Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT) Platoon Leader. The CTLT Platoon Leader Program which consists of platoon leader positions identified by active Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard units both CONUS and OCONUS. Non-SMP MSL III cadets are assigned to the CTLT Platoon Leader program by their PMS and must successfully complete LDAC before proceeding to their assigned position. CTLT Platoon Leader positions do not require an application. Cadets are assigned for a period of three-weeks with CONUS units and four-weeks with OCONUS units. Positions are allocated to each Brigade via CCIMS. Brigades allocate positions to battalions. Cadets receive an Officer Evaluation Report upon completing the Platoon Leader assignment.

MSL III cadets only. There is no application for CTLT Platoon Leader positions. Cadets must contact their professor of military science or training officer at the beginning of their junior year to coordinate a CTLT Platoon Leader position for the summer following their junior year. Once assigned, cadets must sign a CTLT Acceptance Statement and carry it to LDAC.  The Cadet then must complete LDAC prior to attending CTLT, per their CTLT Acceptance Statement.  This is the best way to try out a branch before selecting your branch assignment in the fall of your senior year.

Advance Camp

The Advance Camp is held annually at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The U.S. Army's largest training exercise, Advanced Camp is the U.S. Army Cadet Command's capstone training event. The purpose of the course is to train U.S. Army ROTC Cadets to Army standards, to develop their leadership skills, and to evaluate their officer potential. Most Army Cadets attend Advanced Camp between their junior and senior undergraduate years after having contracted to join the Army. Successful completion of Advanced CAmp is a prerequisite to becoming an Army officer through ROTC.

The 29-day course starts with individual training and leads to collective training, building from simple to complex tasks. This building-block approach permits integration of previously-learned skills into follow-on training. This logical, common-sense training sequence is maintained for each training cycle. Every day at Advanced Course is a day of training.

The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) Committee provides an accurate assessment of each cadet’s fitness level by testing each cadet in accordance with APFT, TC 3-22.20.   The Cadets receive a calibrated assessment of their ability to pass the Army Physical Fitness test.  The test consists of two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a 2 Mile Run course.  Cadets are also briefed on the importance of Physical Training as a part of a comprehensive individual combat readiness plan.

Land Nav:
The Land Navigation Committee develops, assesses and trains cadets in basic dismounted land navigation skills.  Cadets demonstrate their ability to perform basic land navigation skills during day and night conditions on a verified course in varied terrain where they must find 4 of 6 Points in 4 hours on day course and 2 of 4 points in 2.5 hours on the night course.  Cadets who are successful will also be taught more advanced land navigation skills and associated tasks, which include mounted land navigation, range estimation, terrain analysis, call for fire and range / sector cards.

The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Committee trains Cadets on CBRN tasks and develops the cadet’s confidence in the U.S. Army’s protective mask and JSLIST clothing.  Cadets learn correctly wear, operate and have confidence in their CBRN clothing and equipment.   The cadets get an appreciation of the leadership challenges and constraints associated with operating in a CBRN environment by participating in a Situational Training Exercise that tests the Cadets CBRN skills in a physically challenging environment (Cobalt Challenge).  The culminating experience at CBRN is to experience the CS chamber.  Cadets gain confidence in their equipment by training in the CS Chamber.

The Basic Rifle Marksmanship / Live Fire (BRM/LF) Committee is tasked with familiarizing cadets with select US weapons, capabilities and employment techniques.  Cadets receive training in order to conduct zero/qualification with the M16A2 rifle, to gain confidence in his or her assigned weapon and in his or her training by engaging targets on the Down Range feed Back Range, and participating in a Hand Grenade Assault Course with practice grenades as part of a buddy team.  After a cadet has qualified on his or her M16A2, cadets will receive additional training in preparation for conducting a cadet lead cadre supervised Squad Live Fire, engaging targets from a variety of positions in a tactical setting, the culmination of all their BRM training.  Each cadet will also receive training and will live fire familiarize with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) and the M240B Machine Gun (MG).  Cadets also receive familiarization training with the employment, operational capabilities, and effects of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED), and Explosive Formed Projectile (EFP) in order to better prepare Cadets to conduct tactical operations Upon completion of all BRM training, cadets are prepared for future collective training and have confidence in their weapon system.

Cultural Awareness:
The Cultural Awareness (CA) Committee exposes cadets to cultural factors; ethical dilemmas, politics, religion, economics and their potential impact on Military Operations and Mission Accomplishment within the Contemporary Operating Environment (COE). CLC utilizes the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Common Teaching Scenario – Caucasus Region depicting U.S. Forces in support of a friendly nation.  Cadets examine and reflect upon the impact cultural awareness has on military operations and gain an understanding that culture matters and that cultural awareness will facilitate mission success.

First Aid:
The First Aid Committee is tasked with training and testing cadets on selected first aid tasks.  By the end of the training, each cadet is capable of applying life-saving first aid techniques to ensure unit member survivability on the modern battlefield.  The committee utilizes training aids and resources to teach and test to the Combat Lifesaver standard the following tasks:  Evaluate a Casualty, Airway Management, CPR, Chest Wounds, Control Bleeding and treat for Shock.  The cadets also participate in a squad level situational exercise that incorporates administering first aid in a tactical setting.  Cadets walk away from training with realization that every Soldier, regardless of rank, must be able to administer aid to their fellow soldier.

Tactical Leader Development:
The Tactical Leader Development (TLD) Committee creates a challenging tactical environment over  seven days, that provides a unique opportunity founded in the contemporary operating environment (COE) and basic squad and platoon level maneuver doctrine to observe and develop leadership potential.  During their training at TLD, cadets are shown what right looks like during the tactical leader training as they are mentored by cadre.  Cadets successfully demonstrate small unit leadership skills in a training scenario that represents the COE, receiving one squad-level evaluation during the traditional Squad Situational Training Exercise (STX).  Cadets are then provided an opportunity to lead in several platoon positions during the last two days of TLD.  Cadets receive a second evaluation for their overall performance at TLD.

Mission Command:
The Mission Command Committee exposes cadets to modern Mission Command and training opportunities available in the modern Army.  Through leadership discussions and hands-on familiarization, cadets gain an understanding of leadership on the modern battlefield and training simulations that are available to help them prepare for modern battle. Utilizing the Mission Training Complex facility at JBLM, qualified instructors facilitate cadet participate in a leadership discussion that highlights modern battlefield command and control.  Additionally, cadets become familiar with training simulations by participating in a virtual Squad STX to prepare for follow-on military operations.

Task Force GOLD:
Task Force GOLD’s mission is to familiarize the cadets by synchronizing the Road to War Brief, ARI testing, Sex Signals Training, and the Accessions Briefing to establish an environment conducive to ensuring Cadets possess basic knowledge required to make informed decisions and successfully lead others.  Through the leadership discussions and briefings, cadets gain an understanding of leadership that allow them to make informed decisions.

Basic Camp

Basic Camp is the premier leadership program of its kind in the United States. An intense four-week introduction to Army life and leadership training of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, the aim of the course is to motivate and qualify Cadets for entry into the Senior ROTC program.

Basic Camp is designed for college students, typically between their sophomore and junior years. Upon successful completion of Camp, graduates can take part in ROTC at their college as a third-year student in the four-year program.

While attending Basic Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Cadets gain an experience that runs the gamut of Army life and the responsibilities of being an officer. The Camp instills confidence and decision-making abilities to become a leader, in the Army and in life.

Cadets spend their first few days learning Army basics under the tutelage of drill sergeants. They also take their first Army Physical Fitness Test, which consists of sit-ups, push-ups and a two-mile run.

Shortly after the course begins, Cadets are introduced to working in a small-group team-based dynamic in activities such as an obstacle course to accomplish set goals.

Each Cadet takes on a leadership role among his or her peers while at Basic Camp. Senior officers and newly commissioned second lieutenants coach and mentor Cadets throughout the process, offering daily feedback and recommendations for improvement. As Camp progresses, Cadets’ leadership responsibilities grow as they lead peers through simulated combat scenarios using paintball guns in a field training exercise and on urban-based squad tactics missions.

Personal strength to overcome fears is also part of the confidence-building aspect of training. Fear of heights is confronted on the high-ropes course and at the top of the 31-foot rappel tower. Fear of swimming is tackled during combat water survival training, where Cadets jump blindfolded off a 3-meter high dive while holding a rifle over their heads.

The four weeks of Basic Camp are mentally grueling and physically taxing. But the reward of graduation and meeting ROTC standards is the opportunity to enroll in the world’s greatest leadership program and to receive college tuition assistance.

Want to Know More About Summer Training? Hear About it From Some of These Cadets!

Mason - Air Assault School

This past summer I had the opportunity to attend the Sabalauski Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, KY. On Day 0, I and ten other cadets from across the nation joined over 200 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Air Assault Division to begin the two-week course to earn our Air Assault Wings.

Day 0 was long and stressful as the Air Assault Sergeants pushed us through intense physical training and the Obstacle Course. Day 0 alone saw over 40 soldiers drop for missing the 2-mile time, failing the Obstacle Course, or even wearing out-of-regulation combat boots. The next morning at 0300 I woke up and completed the six-mile ruck. This was followed by the worst part of the entire school - the Day 1-10 Packing List Inspection. With limited time I had to dump all of my gear and set it up according to the Air Assault School standard. Even the slightest discrepancy resulted in point accumulation and at 40 points the soldier gets dropped from the school. Fortunately I passed and continued to Phase I - Aircraft Orientation. For the next two days I learned about aircraft capabilities and different air assault operations. I passed the test with ease and entered Phase II - Sling Load Operations.

Sling Load Operations causes the most people to fail because of the inspection test. With only two minutes the soldier must inspect a load and discover all of the deficiencies. This can anything from an untaped taillight to the improper material utilized for a tie down. I missed one deficiency, but was an overall first time go which meant I passed on to Phase III - Rappelling.

The rappelling portion is the most fun aspect of Air Assault School. We learned how to tie a swiss seat and then conduct a Hollywood rappel, a combat rappel, and then a lock-in rappel. Though the swiss seat cut in “where the sun don’t shine,” I enjoyed learning to rappel. In fact, after passing Phase III we were rewarded with the chance to rappel out of a UH-60 Blackhawk as it hovered sixty feet above the ground.

Air Assault School was an awesome experience. I got to know cadets from other universities and even started to understand the life of enlisted personnel as I got to know enlisted soldiers. I earned my wings, but in the process I learned about aircraft capabilities, how to conduct sling load operations, and I even had the chance to rappel out of a Blackhawk. AIR ASSAULT!


Dotson - CTLT Korea

Following Cadet Leader Training (CLC) this past summer, I received the opportunity to travel to South Korea and participate in Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT). This program allows cadets to shadow an active duty lieutenant for three to four weeks. During this period, cadets learn valuable leadership skills from that lieutenant by shadowing him and are also afforded a chance to take control of a platoon and lead troops themselves. I was attached to Delta Detachment, 176th FMSU throughout my stay there; the unit is located at Camp Casey, roughly an hour and a half north of Seoul. Because of my desire to branch combat arms, being attached to a finance unit was not my ideal situation. Looking back, however, it taught me numerous valuable lessons about support units and how they operate. I was thrown into a lifestyle and job I had no idea about and came to appreciate combat support MOSs with the realization that they are just as vital to the accomplishment of the mission as infantry or armor. My month in Korea also allowed me to get a taste for active duty life and how day-to-day operations work on a larger base.

Throughout my stay in South Korea, I was able to visit Seoul on multiple occasions, see the capitol, tour the DMZ, hike several mountains, and travel to several larger towns in the area to experience the lifestyle there almost every week. A significant change from the United States, Korean towns are vertical, rather than horizontally laid out, full of life, highly technological, and extremely friendly. The food and public transportation were extremely cheap; I was able to travel to Seoul via metro for roughly $2.50. Due to the large population of American military forces in the country, as well as its advanced state, the vast majority of people there spoke decent English, making travel and shopping extremely easy.

With the finance unit, day-to-day operations were fairly simple, allowing for time to experience the culture and get to know the lieutenant and command staff I was assigned to for the duration of my stay. PT would occur first thing in the morning and then the workday would start at 0930, ending around 1630-1700 each day, with an hour and a half lunch break in between. The only exception to this was on Thursdays, when the unit would focus on tactical tasks; this was part of the heightened readiness program found in units stationed in South Korea. After work, I would go out into the local towns with either my lieutenant or other cadets stationed there with me for food, shopping, and the nightlife. All in all, my stay in Korea taught me a vast amount about active duty life and the intricacies of leading troops; arguably one of the most valuable lessons an upcoming lieutenant could learn.


Worthington - CTLT Fort Bragg

In the summer of 2015 I had the privilege of attending Cadet Troop Leading Training.  For this training I traveled to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and shadowed an Executive Officer of a Movement Control Team (MCT) for three weeks.  I got to stay at a motel on base and throughout the week I would follow the Executive Officer around while she completed her daily duties.  These duties included conducting PT five times a week, attending briefings, completing weapons qualification, maintaining the motorpool, and carrying out inspections.  Additionally I was able to see the MCT equipment function, tour the arms room, see the Battalion staff in action, and learn about some of the paperwork involved in the job.  Throughout this time, I interacted with multiple Colonels and other lower ranking personnel.  The Army also gave me one day to go on a ride along with a Military Police officer.  During this ride along the officer showed me the department where he worked, some cell blocks, and some of the equipment he used.  I was given the opportunity that day to fire a 75 mm blank from a Howitzer and got to see the officer react to a domestic violence case and a traffic incident, in which a motorcyclist slid under another vehicle.

Throughout the time I spent shadowing my officer, I witnessed her being disrespectful to her Commanding Officer, telling him multiple lies. These lies eventually caught up to her, and as a result she had to be transferred to another Company. This experience gave me the opportunity to see how disciplinary action is carried out within the Army and I was involved in an investigation involving her.  While the circumstances were unfortunate they were also very educational.  In the end the experience was definitely worth the drama that surrounded that MCT.


Jerschina - CLC

This summer, I had the privilege of attending Cadet Leader’s Course (CLC) at Fort Knox, Kentucky as a member of Wolfpack Platoon, Brave Rifles. Throughout the month, I was rotated through being a squad leader, platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and a M240B gunner in the weapons squad.

I had mixed expectations for CLC due to change from previous years. Previous, it was known as Leadership Development Assessment Course and took place in JB Lewis-McChord, WA. I was excited for hands on training and the ability to implement three years of training and development, but equally apprehensive about the quality and nature of my platoon and cadre. However, whatever I ran into, I felt highly prepared by my ROTC program and came in with a high degree of resilience for whatever lay ahead in the shady streets and dense forests of Fort Knox.

Over the course of a month, Cadet Command took me through an incredible diversity of training, from endless powerpoints to rain-soaked machine gun ranges. Some of the highlights were the aforementioned machine gun range for M240B and M249 familiarization and a two day cycle of cultural awareness and sensitive site exploitation discussions and practical exercises.

The two greatest opportunities for my development as a leader were time spent in the field and the war stories as well as constant insight and expertise that our cadre shared. Wolfpack Platoon’s senior cadre were all combat arms including CPT D’ortona and SFC Noble. Their leadership and mentorship, as happens with strong personalities, began to turn us into miniature versions of themselves. In the field, I was rotated into the platoon leader position for a raid on a village, Moving a platoon early in the morning, alongside all tactical considerations for the mission itself, tested the resolve of the whole element; while the raid was successful, the mission taught us all about teamwork and detailed plans, as well as the importance of heavy machine guns in all situations.

CLC defied my expectations and while the month dragged on, it provided me with an incredible opportunity to be deliberately mentored and developed as a future Army leader.


Winters - CLC/CIET Mentor

During my time at Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) as support I had the wonderful opportunity to teach Cadets from around the Nation and its Territories for the 1st Regiment CIET all at Fort Knox for a little over three weeks. It was a time to directly affect the minds of our Future Leaders within the United States Army. I was able to on my own teach several structured classes on topics such as: tactical room clearing, Call for Indirect Fires and Call for Close Air Support, Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM) for the M4/M16 weapons system, and Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction (PMI).

I arrived a week ahead of the 1st Regiment CIET with 1st Regiment CIET Cadre getting certified under Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO’s), Drill Sergeants (DS), and Commissioned Officers. We studied and planned out what we were going to be teaching the Cadets in their first half of the entire month at Fort Knox. During our time teaching the Cadets we had events such as Land Navigation (Land Nav) on Fort Knox’s small Land Nav course, Alpining Tower and Rock Climbing, High Ropes Confidence Course, CS Gas Chamber with MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) Suit Familiarization, and Group/Zero on the M16 rifle range.

I was in the position of Squad Leader the entire time with the Cadets, with their ages ranging from people right out of High School to people who just finished MSII year. My platoon was rated the top Platoon in the entire Regiment, all but a few times under the moniker of “Wolfpack Platoon”.  A huge highlight of my experience was being able to take full control of several classroom sessions teaching them by myself in front of curious MSI, MSII and MSIII Cadets. Another excellent memory that stuck out was my Platoon winning the Alpining and Rock Climbing Competition held during the first week of their training. I myself was also able to climb the hardest rated route on the Climbing Wall, 10/10, when no other Cadet was able to do so.

When my time ended at CIET my Platoon was sad to see me go, to be relieved and replaced by a new batch of MSIV’s. They enjoyed my time with them, especially my squad whom I came to know rather well and still am in contact with to this day! My squad of Cadets still message me to ask questions, mainly in regards to the half a dozen of classes I taught. Right after the end of CIET as support I moved to the Cadet’s Leader Course with a two day layover. This totaled my time on Fort Knox this past summer to 61 days, being longer than some Cadre!

If anyone is to be interested in CIET as support be ready and willing to teach, interact with junior Cadets on a very personal level, and to lead a Squad to develop your own personal leadership skills.


Grout - CIET Mentor

During Summer 2015, I had the excellent opportunity to participate in Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) as a Cadet Leader. For three weeks, I worked with a wide variety of cadets from around the Nation. I was assigned to 2nd Platoon (best platoon) of Bravo Company 5th Regiment CIET. I worked with three other Cadet Leaders and one Drill Sergeant to assist each and every cadet in my platoon (and many cadets from the other platoons) as they trained and improved themselves. We planned and taught them structured classes, and in turn they gave us valuable feedback. They weren’t the only ones growing in their leadership and character; they affected us Cadet Leaders profoundly as we learned what it really means to be a leader in the United States Army.

While most Cadet Leaders arrived a week ahead of their Regiment in order to learn to train others, my orders were incorrect and so I only arrived a day before the 5th Regiment CIET cadets arrived. Thanks to the other Cadet Leaders, I was able to quickly identify where I was needed and catch on to the system we used to teach the 5th Regiment CIET. During our time with 5th Regiment CIET, the cadets participating got to learn Basic Rifle Marksmanship, Land Navigation, High Ropes Confidence Course, CS Gas Chamber and a variety of other activities. Although Cadet Leaders were not able to directly participate in all activities due to limited time and resources, we made sure to participate as much as we could.

For the first four days, 2nd Platoon Cadet Leaders took the positions of Squad Leaders and Platoon Sergeant in order to guide the Platoon. However, our training paid off and the CIET participants quickly and eagerly took over those leadership positions. It was very rewarding to watch the quieter cadets step up and lead the platoon as they gained confidence in themselves and their battle buddies. A highlight of the experience was watching the cadets train each other and themselves during free time; they were highly dedicated, and they told us Cadet Leaders that it was a reflection of our own leadership. That meant a lot to us, as we worked hard to prepare training for them and to train ourselves as leaders. Another highlight was watching two cadets that were terrified of heights as they successfully completed the High Ropes Course.

When our time at CIET ended, we Cadet Leaders were sad to go. We got to meet the new Cadet Leaders who would lead 2nd Platoon. They were prepared, and we knew we’d be leaving 2nd Platoon in good hands. Still, 2nd Platoon was sad to see us go and we exchanged contact information in case they had further questions or concerns during their training. Several of us still communicate with several of them; they often ask questions about ROTC or send pictures of their progress in army training.

The experience of working with CIET cadets as a Cadet Leader is one I would recommend to anyone who is looking to improve their interpersonal and leadership skills. There’s nothing quite like watching people develop and improve themselves because you gave them the tools to do so.


Culbertson - CULP Thailand

This past summer I was given the privilege to train in another country with a group of other cadets. I spent a month with other cadets in Thailand for cultural understanding and language proficiency training (CULP).  The trip was an amazing opportunity and I learned much about the Army’s international missions outside of combat. The first couple of days were spent preparing in Fort Knox where we were briefed on our trip and taught the acronym PMESII which stands for Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information and Infrastructure. We were trained to try to learn about and understand each of the different criteria within PMESII when traveling to other countries. As officers working with foreign nations it is important to be able to have a broad understanding of the worldview of the culture and many of their traditions.  The world is rapidly changing, information is increasing exponentially and as officers it is vital to be able to rapidly adjust with the change and thrive in ambiguity. CULP showed our team the importance of these life skills first hand.

Our team flew into Bangkok and then traveled north to the city of Chiang Mai where we were greeted by the commander of MDU32, a military unit in northern Thailand. We then rode with commander and his staff to MDU32 where we had our first meeting and brief on our mission. Our team was to work with the local military on several projects in small rural communities in northern Thailand to help aid the economy and continue to build relationships with the civilians while reinforcing a positive image of American and Thai militaries. Our team was shown the small private school on the military base which catered to underprivileged Thai boys. These young boys came from many different villages in the surrounding area. They received training in drill and ceremony, muay thai, physical training and basic strategy. Many of these boys go on to enter and serve in the Thai military.

Every day our team would travel with the Thai military to work alongside locals on different projects. We poured concrete floors, built dams, taught children English and met with community leaders. No matter where we went everyone was excited to see us and wanted at least half a dozen photos. It was clear that the people of Thailand valued our help and had a high view of the American military. Village and community leaders would express much gratitude and excitement when we visited. We were taken on tours of temples and important historical sites and asked many questions about the rich history of the Thai people.  We were even invited to receive professional muay thai training and had an opportunity to learn some of the techniques of the unique fighting style.

The highlight of the trip was celebrating Independence Day at the US Embassy in Chiang Mai. While there we met many U.S. delegates and the US ambassador to Thailand. We were introduced to veterans who were now serving the United States in new capacities and many civilians with amazing stories. The training and experience I gained during my CULP mission is invaluable and I will certainly be able to use it as I continue my career as an officer. My worldview was broadened and my confidence while working in new and uncertain circumstances improved dramatically.


York - CLC

I attended CLC this summer and was attached to 8th Regiment, D Company, 2nd Plt, 4th squad.  Being in 4th squad meant we were the weapons squad for most of the time at CLC.  Weapons squad is one of the best and worst to be, because while you do have a fun time shooting guns like the M240B, you also have to carry around 800 rounds of ammunition and even more weight with the extra barrels.  We had three groups of three in our squad and most of the time we were positioned at the three apexes of a patrol base, with one being the gunner, and the other two as the assistant gunner and ammo bearer.  This made it so we became a tight group and getting to know all your fellow cadets at CLC was a blast.

We had a very diverse squad with people from all different backgrounds and places.  We had one guy from South Korea, one from Brazil, two from Puerto Rico, and the rest from various states in the U.S.  During our time at CLC we conducted three days of testing and had a full week conducting in-processing and out-processing, just like we would for a deployment.  We also had various training like rappelling, obstacles course, and qualification on the M16 rifle.

My favorite time at CLC was the eight day field training exercise.  During this time we were out in the field conducting different types of missions while being stationed in a patrol base for most of the day.  While I didn’t get as many leadership positions as I liked, I was able to plan an attack mission that one of my fellow squad members executed and we continued to plan and conduct small missions every day in the field.  Overall CLC gave me a chance to experience many different things and hone my leadership skills, serving in positions like PSG and SQD leader.


Van Kampen - CLC

My CLC experience was positive overall looking back on the 29 days at Fort Knox. This was my first official training event for an extended period of time, and it was good to get to know many cadets from all across the country. Many future officers in my platoon all brought different aspects of leadership. We had cadets ranging from those who were prior enlisted with years of combat experience to some cadets that were there simply to check the box.

The first couple weeks of training were focused on preparing for combat. During this part we developed relationships in the platoon and squad to ensure we grew together as a unit. We did team building exercises, qualified with the M16, confidence course, many briefs, and leadership positions to prepare for “war” against SAPA. This part of the training was very helpful because our captain’s MOS was infantry and he was a good teacher. It was helpful for me to learn from the other cadets and cadre to expand my knowledge base from MSIII year.

The last two weeks were focused on building on what we learned for the first couple weeks in the field. We transferred to tent city and an intense rainstorm blew in the next night. Life out in the “field” created challenges like a tent that filled with water and we had to adapt and overcome. The last 6 days were spent out under the stars and we completed a 4-5 hour mission each day. These missions built on each other from the previous days and consisted of developing a relationship with local officials in a village. This gave our platoon the opportunity to learn to treat the locals properly. We ended our official training by a large culmination exercise where we did the whole operation at night. This gave many challenges for cadet leadership to display proper leadership. Days were a struggle, but overall we learned much about leadership.


Brown - CLC

This past summer I was afforded the opportunity to attend the Cadet Leadership Course (CLC) at Cadet Command with the 9th regiment. I had no expectations due to the fact that this was the first summer that Cadet Command would be hosting this event as opposed to the previous Leaders Development Assessment Course (LDAC).

Beginning this course, I was nervous, but in the end I enjoyed my training while at Ft. Knox. I was provided many opportunities to learn, and in some cases, teach. After I was in-processed I started training on weapons qualifications with an M4 assault rifle, M249/M240B automatic weapons, and the rappel tower. I also learned to conduct multiple types of operations. Though we did quite a bit of testing, and I grew in many different ways, the biggest take away that I gained was how to interact with people. Some individuals will not enjoy the mundane and strenuous tasks that accompany any job, but you have to learn to love it anyways. Everyone has to look inside himself or herself and be able to find the fortitude to make every experience count.  This is something I had to remind myself of frequently. Once I was able to do that I was able to encourage others to do the same. After that, there was nothing my squad or platoon couldn’t do, which ultimately enhanced the overall experience.


Arreguin - CULP Turkey

This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Turkey with US Army ROTC Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Program. I was excited to be able to go to Turkey because I have previous experience with the Turkish language through college-level courses. Real-life practice was exactly what I needed in order to improve my Turkish language skills and learn more about the Turkish culture. When I arrived at Fort Knox for out-processing, I knew that I was going to Turkey to work with Turkish military cadets like myself, but nothing could have prepared me for the amazing and challenging experience.

We flew into the capital of Turkey, Ankara, and toured different historical sights, such as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s mausoleum, in order to teach us about the Turkish culture. After two days of cultural briefings and touring, we traveled to the coastal city of Izmir. The Turkish cadets spend each summer at a military camp that is located on the coast of the Aegean Sea. Each American cadet was paired up with a Turkish cadet that would act as a translator. Being able to spend time 24/7 amongst Turkish cadets was a very unique experience. There were many conversations in which we talked about how our cultures are different, but despite cultural differences I became very close with my fellow Turkish cadets. Some of the training opportunities that we participated in while at the camp were obstacle courses, physical training, combatives, rucking, offensive and defensive tactics, and long overnight operations. Much of the training was conducted in between long ruck marches in order to simulate a tactical environment. I truly enjoyed my time at the Turkish military camp in Izmir. Working with cadets from another culture challenged me to practice more Turkish as well as adapt to the way another country’s military operates.

After spending two weeks at Izmir, we traveled to the mountainous city of Isparta. The Komando School is located at Isparta. At the Komando School, we were able to participate in ruck marches, rappelling, mountaineering, and an IED course. It was a very interesting experience. I again had a lot of exposure to Turkish because I spent a majority of my time with Turkish cadets. Physically, the training was very strenuous. I would definitely go back to Turkey if I had the opportunity. Even though a majority of the trip was spent at military training camps with Turkish cadets, on the weekends, we traveled around to various historical and cultural centers in order to learn more about Turkey’s history. Overall, the trip was a very rewarding experience and I would highly recommend other cadets to pursue CULP missions. I learned how to work with a foreign military despite language barriers and also I developed a great respect for the Turkish military as well as Turkey’s rich history and culture.


Hogan - CIET

This past summer I had the opportunity to attend CIET at Ft. Knox, KY for one month. This was a big step for me in continuing in the ROTC program at Central State. CIET is a month long training to simulate basic training for the Army’s future officers. Our training consisted of both mental and physical challenges in order to grow and strengthen us. The month of July was hot, humid and exhausting but also one of the best experiences I have had so far. For me, going to CIET was not only a way to continue in ROTC but also a way to prove my mettle to myself. I have never thought of myself as a quitter, but I also never really thought of myself as Army material. CIET changed that for me. Going into it as a completely new ROTC student was like drinking from a fire hose.

I had a fantastic experience at training. Our drill sergeants challenged us, and had high expectations for us. Our First Sergeant did a great job of simultaneously kicking our butts and mentoring us as a Platoon. The drill sergeants followed suit and this made for a great learning experience. I learned how officers and NCOs interact and work together. Observing this interaction between the LT's and NCO’s, as well as them teaching us about it was very effective and helped prepare me better for ROTC and my future as a LT in the Army.

We also did tactics and training out in the field. This included land navigation during the day and night, staying out in the woods for a few days in a simulated war zone and learning how to perform tactical missions.  We were taught to think like a soldier, to think critically and act quickly under stress. I found this challenging at first. I was not sure if I thought I was cut out to do this. There were some instances when the exhaustion set in and I second-guessed myself.  However, by the end of the training, I had not only proven to myself that I could endure, adapt and continue, but also to those around me. My battle buddies and myself had absolutely bonded, and yet we were also watching each other. There was a very real realization that someday we would be working together, possibly have each other’s lives in our hands. We were working together, challenging each other and also assessing leadership skills.  At CIET you have a mixture of students, some have been in ROTC for two years, others were just beginning like myself. This allowed us to learn from each other as well. I thought this created a good environment that allowed us to keep each other accountable, teach each other and glean from each other.

You absolutely have to decide you are going to work hard and persist when in training. It was a proud moment when we graduated. I finally felt like I deserved to wear the uniform. When I am doing ROTC activities now in uniform, I feel like I own it; I earned it. CIET helped make participating in ROTC something earned: something personal. I can honestly say that CIET helped confirm that I can tackle any challenge and I am stronger than I think.


Berman - CULP Georgia

Georgian tradition decrees that when God was divvying up all the lands of the earth, the Georgians were late to the ceremony. When God asked them why, they responded that they were too busy partying and drinking in honor of God himself. Pleased with their answer, God gave them the land reserved for himself. The land that is most fertile for wine and most beautiful.

I had the honor of being chosen to attend the 2015 CULP trip to the Republic of Georgia. The Georgian people are a unique culture, having their own language specific to their country. Picking up bits and pieces of it was very difficult but necessary. I feel completely comfortable getting around with the Georgian I have learned. On multiple occasions, I ordered meals for the group, given vocabulary words to my companions, and introduced myself to native Georgians. Even at the Americanized hotel, I continued to speak with employees in the Georgian tongue in the hopes of improving my understanding of the language and building report with the country itself.

The 2015 CULP Georgia trip entailed attending the Sachkhere Mountain Training School. These three weeks of grueling, high altitude training were physically and mentally strenuous. Missing my family immensely, the thought of them kept me going when the training got difficult. Many challenges arose as we trained for a thirty-two mile hike to an altitude of 2300 meters. This mountain, although small for Georgia, is 700 meters taller than Mt. Marcy, the highest mountain in New York. From the top, I could have played with snow, but the sight of the Greater Caucasus, the Georgian mountain range, already overwhelmed me. I have seen the Atlantic Ocean from the shores of Humacao, Puerto Rico. I have seen Niagara Falls. I have stepped on the white sands on the Gulf of Mexico. I will always place being on top of that mountain with these events.

At the graduation ceremony, I had the great honor of speaking on behalf of my team to the Sachkhere School and legal ambassadors. I opened my speech with the same story I opened this essay. Continuing, I spoke of the Georgian Spirit of survival, hospitality, fire, and love. I thanked them for teaching us mountaineering at the school, but more importantly, teaching us the Georgian Spirit. I closed by asking God to bless our families, our countries, the Georgian Spirit, and us. At the reception after, many Georgian soldiers, who understood my speech through a translator, gave me accolades, saying that my words resonated with them. Sergeant Alex, the main instructor, told me that he almost cried but held himself together because he was in formation. The greatest praise came from the Father George, who asked for a picture with me specifically. Through a translator, he told me that my words came from my heart and wanted me to know that he was praying for me and thanking God for me. I cannot think of a time in my life when I was more flattered.


Dyksterhouse - CIET

Cadet Initial Entry Training is a wonderful, introductory experience for welcoming new cadets to the Army. It offers a different perspective of the Army than what the cadet experiences everyday in ROTC. CIET is a four week long camp that teaches the basic skills of a soldier. I heard from others that CIET is a shortened version of Basic Training, but in my opinion, the drill sergeants we had were not as tough and strict as what an enlisted soldiers goes through.

The first part of CIET was strictly paperwork and classes. We sat around for a while, went to classes, and learned some ways we could overcome fears and increase our mental toughness. These were helpful in the later parts of CIET, such as the high ropes course and breathing in of CS Gas. Throughout the time there, drill and ceremony was enforced to make sure that we understood the basics of it and we also learned some cadences. Other simple tasks such as learning to do a weapons count or standing at the position of attention were also taught. After the introductory phase, we began to move into tasks that required skills. This portion included hand grenade assault course, high ropes course, CS Gas, basic marksmanship training with a rifle, and some other activities. These were fun and made the days go by faster. We spent the third phase in the field. This tested our tactical skills and helped us build upon our previous knowledge. We were taught some tactical knowledge such as how to flip and OPORD and conduct an ambush. During my time in the field, it was raining and extremely windy, to a point where we literally had our tent get blown over. We had to evacuate numerous times and we learned how essential accountability is to a unit. The final phase of CIET was out-processing where we went through even more sitting around and waiting in lines for paperwork.

Overall, Cadet Initial Entry Training was a good experience as it sharpened my individual soldier skills and it allowed me to meet other cadets from schools all across the United States. I will definitely see them again in the Army and at CLC this upcoming summer.

Retzlaff - CIET

I did not have very high expectations going into CIET, however, I quickly realized that in order to get the most out of this training, I would need to adopt a “ready to learn” attitude no matter how basic the course was. I remember in the initial briefing when Gen. Combs, said that she wanted us to “build our boxes”. She was referring to our knowledge, and although we took this as a joke at first, her words soon became true as we started to learn everything we could about the basics of army operations.

In addition to gaining head knowledge, CIET was a great opportunity to test myself physically and mentally. Although the course was not extremely demanding, we were presented with several challenges such as obstacle towers, rock walls, Field Leaders Reaction Course, and several tactical exercises. All these challenges were good opportunities to test my critical thinking under a high stress situation, especially when it came to tactics.

The first two weeks of the course built the cadets toward a final tactical exercise where we would have to perform Key leader Engagements, STX lanes, and basic battle drills. All cadets were put into a position of leadership at least once. Many of the cadets had to receive and OPORD, make a plan of execution, then lead their squad to accomplish the mission. This was a valuable experience learning to work with other leaders and to test the tactical knowledge we have been building at our home programs.


Nocella - CIET

4th REG,  ACO, 4th PLT, 3rd SQD

I spent a month at Fort Knox this summer participating in Cadet Initial Entry Training. While it was designed to be a cadet version of basic training in that it was an initial immersion into Army life, it was not difficult by most standards.  We got a full eight hours of sleep a night and three square meals a day so I found it to be easy enough to keep up, though I was honestly tired at the end of each day.

To put it simply, I found CIET to be a good source of context for me as a cadet entering my MSIII year that fall. I had spent two years in ROTC at school but it was nice to have an experience where I wore the uniform every day for and extended period of time, without worrying about the constant switch to civilian life. That day-to-day regularity was a good thing for me since I am a person who learns by doing a lot better than by hearing. I also gained some valuable experience that I would not have been able to do until CLC next summer. These included the CBRN chamber, qualifying with the M4, learning to handle and clean a real M4, interacting with cadets from all over the country and spending time learning from and interacting with various NCOs, including Drill Sergeants. I got to see a lot of “hows” and “whys” played out in the Army context where in a college setting they were only explained to me. It was a great experience for me and allowed me to improve my technical skills as a soldier as well as learn from and teach other cadets from all over the country. Every one of them brought a new set of skills and experience levels that I would have never benefited from with otherwise. Overall, I would say that CIET helped better prepare me for my MSIII year here at Central State AROTC.