Last weekend, the San Diego State University Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets faced their first fall field training. During the training, cadets were able to put into practice everything they learned during the semester and experience real-life situations before they graduate from the four-year Aztec Battalion. The training included land navigation, shooting an M16 rifle, squad tactic exercises and bivouac operations, according to Cadet and Civil Affairs Officer Benjamin Serrano.
The Army ROTC program is formed by freshmen military science I, sophomore MS II, junior MS III and senior MS IV cadets.
The cadets began their three-day training on Oct. 20 at Camp Elliott in Miramar. Serrano said the terrain at the camp is full of mountains, rocks, hills and no buildings, making it a good simulation for a real army environment.
Land navigation was the first exercise the cadets experienced. They had to find their way to a set of given coordinates using a map, compass and projector, all made more challenging because the exercise was done at night when they could only use redlight.
During the training, the cadets were introduced to the basic fundamentals and techniques for shooting an M16 rifle. They had the opportunity to practice how to adapt the rifle and even practice their shooting skills in the range.
“They got a feel for how to shoot … they (became familiar) with the weapon,” Serrano said.
Another part of the training included the squad tactic exercise. A squad formation of 10 cadets went into real-life situations under the leadership of a single junior MS III cadet. The unit learned a variety of skills during the simulation, such as what to do in case they are shot at while patrolling an area and recalling as much information as possible after going to a location and finding the enemy, such as what the enemy is wearing, how many there are and what their activity is in the location. The MS III cadet in charge of the squad had to formulate a plan of attack.
“They put the third years in charge of leading tactical squads on hypothetical missions to see how we can cope with stressful situations and decision-making,” MS III cadet William Seban said. “But at the same time it gives the newer cadets the ability to learn how to do all that stuff. But it really is an evaluation process for the third years.”
Serrano said they grade the MS III cadets on their planning and leadership skills, and the field trainings offered in the fall and spring, such as the one in Miramar, help them to prepare for Warrior Forge in Washington.
“Basically, you do well at (Warrior Forge), you get accepted and you get ranked nationally, and that determines how you’ll be commissioned as an officer, active duty or reserve component and what branch you’ll get,” Serrano said.
This event is held annually and more information about the training and the SDSU Army ROTC program can be found at armyrotc.sdsu.edu.