ROTC students build camaraderie through field training


Members of ROTC from Kent State University, University of Akron, John Carroll University and several other northeastern Ohio colleges gathered at the Ravenna Arsenal Joint Military Training Center for basic field training on Friday, April 13. Friday morning’s training consisted of problem solving obstacles and learning to repel from a fifty foot repel tower. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Nicole Winkleman

While most students relaxed or caught up on homework over the weekend, members of the ROTC program trained.

Every year, the members of Kent’s ROTC meet up with the members of the John Carroll University ROTC and the University of Akron ROTC. The cadets engage in many different field training activities.

“It’s a good bonding experience,” said Caitlin Ciralsky, sophomore psychology major. “You get to meet people that you wouldn’t normally work with.”

The teams were equipped with weapons (not loaded), food and canteens full of water. Then it was time for the training events to begin.

The junior cadets participated in leadership reaction courses. The courses are obstacle courses set up in the woods.

“It’s like a puzzle,” said Sam Kelley, senior finance major. “You are given a task and items. You have to figure out how to accomplish the task with those items.”

The leadership reaction courses consist of nine different obstacles that help the cadets figure out how to work together as a team in unfamiliar circumstances.

The cadets tackled grueling challenges like the “bridge of no return.” They had two ramps and two planks; the planks were shorter than the distance between the two ramps. The cadets had to figure out how to get a barrel and the whole squad across to the other side without touching the ground.

“Most of the events are made to be nearly impossible,” Kelley said. “The idea is to see how the cadets can do under pressure, in unfamiliar situations, with unfamiliar people.”

While the juniors were out in the woods, the freshmen and sophomores repelled off a 50-foot tower.

“I’m not nervous now,” Ciralsky said. “But once I get to the top, I know I’ll freak out.”

Some cadets seemed very composed when getting ready to repel off a wall; others were scared.

“This is my biggest fear,” said a cadet from John Caroll. “I hate heights. I can’t do this.”

But she eventually did. And the events continued on through the rest of the weekend.

Other events included land navigation, infantry tactics and helicopter rides.

The cadets learned how to set up camp, ate packaged, dehydrated food and went without showering for a couple days.

Kelley, the public affairs representative for the cadets, said there is something to look forward to at the end of the weekend.

“One of the nice things is we get a steak dinner at the end,” Kelley said. “Usually we get it after our most intense day — usually Saturday.”

Contact Nicole Winkleman at [email protected].