ROTC recruiter heads to Kentucky for officer training

Ariane R. Cavin

Laughing with cadets and other ROTC officers is how 2nd Lt. Mike Yates spent his last couple of days as Kent State’s Army ROTC Gold Bar recruiter.

Yates will be leaving Kent State and going to Ft. Knox, Ky., for four months to complete his officer training at the Armor Officer Basic Course. He will learn about maintenance, tactics and strategies to use with the Abrams tank.

He graduated from Kent State in May 2005 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant on May 15, 2005, after graduating from ROTC. Yates said he jumped at the opportunity to work with the cadets when a slot opened up in the Gold Bar recruiting position.

Excited about leaving for officer training, Yates said he looks forward to the experience of training and working with the equipment.

“I really am a hands-on type of person,” he said. “And with (Armor Officer Basic Course) it’s all hands-on learning through classroom and application of what you learn in the classroom.”

Armor officers spend a lot of time working with the tanks and keeping up with the maintenance for the large vehicle.

Maj. Daniel Jones, assistant professor of military science, said the course is like a school house environment similar to the university. It is taught by the Army specifically geared to train leaders on the technical aspects of how to deal with tactics.

“It reinforces land navigation skills as well as he will learn and acquire new techniques on how to employ one of the most modern-day lethal weapons of the battlefield – the tank,” Jones said. “I expect him to learn as much as he can and then employ it once he gets to his next duty assignment.”

An Armor officer is responsible for the operations of the tank and cavalry on the battlefield. An Armor Lieutenant could work with either the M1A1 or M1A2 Abrams tank.

The Armor Officer Basic Course is a 12-week course that trains lieutenants in armor crew skills, tank gunnery and platoon operations.

Yates has goals of getting into an active duty unit such as the 3rd Armored Cavalry or the 3rd Infantry Division. He wants to make his way through the ranks and be the best officer he can.

Jones is excited for Yates because he remembers when he went to his officer training.

“I think he is well prepared and eagerly awaiting his next assignment,” Jones said. “He’s embarking on a new phase of his military career.

“Everyone grows in different ways and at different times. One of the things that I can say about 2nd Lt. Yates is that he is very mature, he is introspective and he applies those basic principles of leadership to ensure that soldiers do what they need to do to be successful.”

The recent graduate will have to undergo what is called a seven-day war.

“It’s a field training exercise for seven days out in the field,” Yates said. “It’s basically like a final test.”

Yates said the hardest part will be being away from his wife for four and a half months, but he knows that she will be able to visit because Ft. Knox, Ky., is close with only a six and a half hour drive from Kent.

Jones said he wishes Yates well as he leaves. He wants Yates to use all his skills to make himself an exceptional officer and a great leader of troops.

In the future, Yates said he would like to have the opportunity to come back as an assistant professor for ROTC and help develop young cadets.

“I await him e-mailing and calling and telling us about the success stories that he has, as well as any minor set backs that he may have,” Jones said. “He’s a good egg; he’s going to do well.”

Contact ROTC reporter Ariane Cavin at [email protected]