Training while it’s raining

Kate Sheafer

Courses continue without helicopter

Despite a few changes to the transportation schedule, Army ROTC’s fall field training exercise continued as planned on Saturday and Sunday.

The group travels to Ravenna Arsenal for an overnight course in navigation and weapons training twice a year. This year, though they anticipated traveling via helicopter for the first time, rain forced the aircrafts to remain grounded.

“I was excited about the helicopter,” said Shane Clarke, a third-year member of the ROTC program and senior at Kent State. “But I wasn’t too sure about the trip in general, so I’m not completely disappointed.”

Students had spent several weeks anticipating the helicopter trip and even received dog tags, which are required for any military personnel traveling via helicopter.

“Normally in ROTC, we have to give people dog tags by the time that they are juniors,” said David Degenhardt, public affairs officer for Army ROTC. “This time, we gave them to all members originally going on the helicopter as part of a military requirement.”

Instead, 97 students from Kent State and Youngstown State arrived at the complex in vans Saturday morning and were given a series of land navigation assignments for day and night.

A 4:30 a.m. wake-up call was followed by a six-mile march and a day filled with weapons classes and grenade training.

“There were a few blisters and bruises from the march,” said Chaz Deering, Kent State junior and third-year ROTC member. “Everyone made it, though, and morale is still high.”

Several “dummy” targets and an old truck were set up around the field, and students were challenged to land grenades in the bed of the truck or within range of the other targets.

The weekend was a way to put what they have practiced in class to actual use.

“It’s nice to be able to do this type of training outside of the classroom,” Clarke said. “A lot of the time, due to time constraints with our labs, we can’t fit that many practical exercises in.”

Even without the thrill of the helicopter, students were still able to enjoy hands-on training with real (though unloaded) weapons and bonding time with fellow ROTC members.

“You get to meet a lot of the people you don’t normally meet,” said Maria Strawn, who completed her first field training exercise this weekend. “Usually you’re just with your own squad, but here you get to hang out with everyone else and learn together.”

Degenhardt said he hopes the program will include helicopter transportation for the next training exercise, but once again, “It will all depend on the weather.”

Contact Greek life and ROTC reporter Kate Sheafer at [email protected].