KSU ROTC members train, evaluate at fall field training

Chase Bonhotel

Members of Kent State’s Army ROTC attended fall FTX, a field training exercise program that pushes cadets beyond their comfort zone while molding essential ascendancy and team-building skills, Friday through Sunday at Ravenna Arsenal.

“It’s important to get them out here away from the classroom and in a field environment where they can learn,” Lt. Col. Mark Piccone said.

Piccone said all Military Science One freshmen through Military Science Four senior cadets were in attendance. The three-day program consisted of hands-on training exercises such as day and night land navigation, leading patrols, building takedowns and urban and mountain applications.

Pat Fox, freshman construction management major and MS2 cadet, said the sophomores and freshmen went straight into land navigation on the first day, followed by grenade assault training and rappelling on the second day. Freshmen and sophomores typically do more introductory things while the juniors practice building takedowns and more “real-life” missions.

“The training has been great; they’ve prepared us well for this,” Fox said. “I like how they split us into groups so the younger kids and older kids can learn at their own pace.”

Rachel Carabotta, senior park management major and MS3 cadet, said the cadets are briefed on a mission and then evaluated on how well they gave commands and executed those commands throughout the mission. They are evaluated by the MS4s on different dimensions including physical fitness, military bearing, confidence, mental agility, leading and communication.

Piccone said the event not only prepares all cadets but is essential in preparing the MS3s for the Leadership Development and Assessment Course that consists of training and common soldier skills, which will be taken during the summer of their junior year. Once they pass the LDAC, they will come back as MS4s and become trainer evaluators for the following year.

“The focus is to get us ready for LDAC in the summer,” Carabotta said. “They’re going to test us on what we’ve learned in ROTC, and it determines where you get placed in the military. You could be placed in the National Guard, active duty or a different branch in the Army, so that’s why FTX is so important.”

The fall FTX is a huge event, but cadets still have one more chance to evaluate themselves and prepare for the spring.

“Once FTX concludes, our classes will focus on what went right and what went wrong,” Carabotta said. “We can then use what we’ve learned to make improvements, and we can use the spring FTX to get ready for LDAC in the summer.”

As the fall FTX came to a close, senior officers were proud of their young cadets.

“It was fantastic; this was my third one and the best one by far,” Piccone said. “The cadets’ moral, motivational level and them executing what we told them to do was astounding.”

Contact Chase Bonhotel at [email protected].