ROTC trains at Ravenna Arsenal

Amanda Kozma

Five area universities send ROTC students to training at arsenal

ROTC students practice techniques of engaging bystanders in war using paintball guns during a biannual training at the Ravenna Arsinal Saturday. Stephanie Dever | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Army ROTC students roughed it when they slept in warehouses on cement floors and washed with baby wipes while they trained at the Ravenna Arsenal this weekend.

Cadets from the University of Akron, John Carroll University, Youngstown State University and Mount Union College joined Army cadets from Kent State for three days of small-unit infantry tactics exercises. The cadets participated in a series of drills from interacting with the media, responding to squad attacks and conducting an ambush, to dealing with surrendering enemy prisoners of war.

The purpose of the exercises was to prepare the third-year cadets for the Leadership Development Assessment Course they will have to attend this summer.

“This weekend definitely tests our mental and physical limits,” said Johannes Benninghoff, freshman justice studies major.

Although Benninghoff is a scholarship cadet and is required to attend the weekend training, he admitted he would have wanted to be there regardless. While contracted cadets were the only students obligated to attend the field training, all cadets were encouraged to go. There were about 130 cadets from all five universities in attendance at the arsenal.

“The weekend is exhausting, but you do get a lot out of it,” Benninghoff said.

Senior cadets planned the activities for the weekend in addition to conducting all the training stations. During each drill, every squad was assigned a leader, and cadets were given a mission to complete. At the end of each drill, a senior cadet briefed and evaluated the squads’ actions during the mission.

“The most important task is for the squad leaders to maintain control and make the decisions for the best interest of the mission,” said senior cadet Jennifer Hergenroeder.

The cadets are not expected to be technical experts, but the designated leader should be able to successfully complete the planning process before the mission, Hergenroeder said.

Throughout the missions, variables are thrown in to change the plan and force the cadets to become as mentally agile as possible.

“The exercises are all about multi-tasking,” senior cadet Joel Newburn said.

The younger cadets might be out here to have a good time, but then the drills make cadets realize how serious some of this stuff is, Newburn said.

“The third-year cadets learn a lot about their abilities as a leader while they are out here,” Newburn said. “This is a good learning experience before they attend the assessment course this summer.”

Contact ROTC reporter Amanda Kozma at [email protected].