Seneca Battalion participates in St. Bonaventure University 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

Members of Seneca Battalion place flowers on the 9/11 memorial stone after St. Bonaventure's yearly 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony.
Members of Seneca Battalion place flowers on the 9/11 memorial stone after the Remembrance Ceremony had concluded. 

On Friday, September 11th, 2015, cadets from Seneca Battalion participated in St. Bonaventure University’s yearly 9/11 remembrance ceremony, set at 12:20 at the memorial stone placed between Swan and Plassman halls.

After a presentation of the colors by a Seneca Battalion color guard and the singing of the national anthem, members of Seneca Battalion listened to a speech by Father Francis Di Spigno alongside a crowd of mourners from St. Bonaventure University.  After Father Di Spigno was finished, students led the group in a prayer before the crowd was allowed to approach the memorial stone and place flowers on it.

After most of the crowd had paid their respects, members of Seneca Battalion approached the memorial and lay down their flowers as one.  They remained behind the stone until the crowd was completely gone and they too were dismissed.

Seneca Battalion may have moved on, but will never forget.

Lab Week #2 – Movement at the Individual, Squad, and Platoon Level

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CDT Furgal demonstrates one of the hand motions utilized during tactical lanes to his sqaud. Next to him is CDT Kelly, his assistant instructor for the lab.

The military uses a three-phase approach to teaching.  First, the crawl phase, where initial instruction is given and learners first attempt the task being taught.  Next is the walk phase, where learners practice their newfound skill and try to apply it to a real world scenario.  Last is the run phase, where learners utilize the skill in a tactical training environment.

This week, cadets used all three.

For its weekly Military Science lab, Seneca Battalion learned Individual Movement Techniques, or IMT’s. The IMT’s are the basic movements that all soldiers learn when they begin tactical training.  Even the simplest thing, such as moving as a unit through an open field versus a dense forest, has necessary techniques that all soldiers need to learn.  Cadets split into squads and were each taught the basics of battle such as the high crawl, low crawl, and buddy team rush before learning the higher level squad movement formations and then platoon level formations.

Each squad was instructed by a pair of MS III cadets.  After every skill was taught, the squads would practice each event in pairs or as a whole squad.  Once all of the skills were taught instructors had the squads quickly make the formations covered in the lab, having individual members swap positons to ensure everyone retained the knowledge they had learned.

The lab lasted roughly two hours, with cadets spending nearly all of that time in the field.

As always, if you have any questions or interest in ROTC, please contact Mr. Jared Kausner, Recruiting Operations Officer at JKAUSNER@sbu.edu or Brian Machina, Cadet Recruiting Officer at (518) 928-2512.

Seneca Battalion holds Prospect Day for Interested Students

On Saturday, September 5, Seneca Battalion ROTC held a Prospect day to display the type of activities that ROTC cadets participate in when they go out on training. Consisting of a leadership-oriented obstacle course and force-on-force paintball, the event lasted from noon to 5 p.m.

Over a dozen interested students from St. Bonaventure University, Alfred State College, Alfred University, and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford attended, fully immersed in the events alongside Seneca Battalion Basic Course cadets. For all, it was an afternoon of fun and training, but there was also a much more serious undertone.

For those students interested in contracting with ROTC, Prospect Day is the first step. Applicants to the program are strongly encouraged to attend; it shows a commitment to ROTC cadre who ultimately decide who gets a scholarship and who does not.

The day began with an orientation to the FLRC, or Field Leader’s Response Course. The FLRC is made up of several small obstacles that a squad-sized element has to get through using only the provided tools – without leaving anyone behind. Prospect Day participants were broken up amongst the squads of existing cadets and rotated through three stations at the FLRC: the climbing wall, the minefield, and the broken bridge.

The climbing wall is a ten-foot high sheer wall that has to be ascended by every teammate – after which each person has to drop down and scale a bridge made of chain without touching the ground below. It is the most physically challenging of the obstacles.

The minefield is a section of ground with several blocks jutting out of it, each just out of comfortable reach. Participants have to move across the minefield on just the blocks while carrying an ammo can and two planks – one long and one short. Participants cannot move without a plank touching the block they’re moving to and cannot touch the ground at any time. If they do, the entire squad has to restart.

The broken bridge is a four-foot high bridge built with a massive rift in its center. Using only two planks that are far shorter than the length needed to cross, participants have to bring themselves and a 55 gallon drum across to the other side. Anything that falls on the ground is no longer usable.

After roughly two hours, every participant and cadet was handed a paintball gun and split into teams for a game of capture the flag. The area of play was the entire FLRC course and each team had a base with a flag to protect. The objective of the game was to capture the other team’s flag or eliminate all of the other team’s players. Each team won one game, resulting in a draw.

If you have any questions or interest in ROTC, please contact Mr. Jared Kausner, Seneca Battalion’s Recruitment Operations Officer, at JKAUSNER@sbu.edu, or Brian Machina, the Cadet Recruiting Officer, at (518) 928-2512.

Seneca Battalion ROTC Assists in Freshman Move In Day

By CDT Jake McCollum

Seneca Battalion ROTC cadets assist a family in unloading their vehicle in front of Robinson and Falconio Dormitories. Photo by Jake McCollum
Seneca Battalion ROTC cadets assist a family in unloading their vehicle in front of Robinson and Falconio Dormitories at St. Bonaventure University.  Photo by Jake McCollum

Moving is one of the most stressful things anyone can do.  For college freshmen going away to school, it is an exciting challenge that can quickly become overwhelming.  Fortunately for freshmen at St Bonaventure University and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Seneca Battalion ROTC can help them get there.

Seneca Battalion ROTC cadets assist in Freshman Move-In Day at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Photo by Jake McCollum
Seneca Battalion ROTC cadets assist in Freshman Move-In Day at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Photo by Jake McCollum

Seneca Battalion cadets assisted in freshman move-in day at both universities as part of Zero Week, an event where contracted cadets undergo mandatory training classes such as Anti-Terror and First Aid in the days before the start of classes.   Starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Seneca cadets assembled at Robinson and Falconio dormitories at St Bonaventure to begin moving freshmen in.   While starting slowly, the lawn around the dorms quickly filled with vehicles as families began arriving.  Cadets wasted no time in helping families move personal items from their vehicles up into the dorms, carrying everything from refrigerators and televisions to pillow pets and makeup bags.

Numerous people thanked Seneca Battalion cadets as they made their way in and out of the dorms, making non-stop trips from vehicle to vehicle in an effort to get freshmen moved in as quickly and efficiently as possible.

While cadets moved the freshmen in, Seneca Battalion cadre observed and directed the operation, grilling hotdogs and hamburgers for lunch and manning a recruiting tent.

Seneca cadets worked until about 3 p.m., when the vast majority of the freshmen had been moved in.

CDT Sourbeer (left) and CDT Burton (right) heft a refrigerator as they move it into one of the dorms at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Photo by Jake McCollum
CDT Sourbeer (left) and CDT Burton (right) heft a refrigerator as they move it into one of the dorms at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Photo by Jake McCollum

The following day, Seneca cadets drove over to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford to assist its freshmen move in.  One of Seneca Battalion’s satellite schools, with St. Bonaventure serving as the host school, UPB has several cadets of its own that make the drive from Pennsylvania up into New York every week to attend Military Science lab and classes.

Cadets worked from 9 a.m. to noon, eating lunch at the UPB dining facility before heading back to their prospective campuses to enjoy the weekend.

If you have any interest in the challenges and rewards ROTC can provide for you, call Jared Kausner, Seneca Battalion Enrollment and Recruitment Operations Officer at (716) 375 2568 or email JKAUSNER@sbu.edu

Spotlight – 2nd Lt. Koty Mann

By CDT Jake McCollum

Former cadets of 6th regiment CLC are sworn into 2LT rank by U.S. Fort Knox, Commanding General, Peggy Combs during a Commissioning Ceremony in Waybur Theater on Thursday, July 23, 2015. U.S. Army Photo by William Kolb
2nd Lt. Mann displays his commisison with brother, Collin, mother, Kelly McKenna, sister, Sydney, and girlfriend, Courtney Biehls after the ceremony. 
U.S. Army Photo by William Kolb

Fort Knox (July 23, 2015) – Challenge is a word every ROTC cadet is accustomed to.  It is a challenge to forge themselves into gold bars and earn the rank of 2nd Lt., one that they live day in and day out at Cadet Summer Training.

One Cadet in particular knows this challenge like no other.

Cadet Koty Mann of St. Bonaventure University in New York is roughly six foot tall, built and tanned after a month in the Kentucky sun.  He wears glasses and has blond hair, a tattoo on the underside of his arm reading arguably the most important tenant of the Warrior Ethos – “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”  He speaks with a positive, confident tone that conveys his bright future as a US Army Officer.  He attended 2014’s intensive Leadership Development Assessment Course at Fort Knox before suffering an injury that forced him to return to the following year for the newly designed Cadet Leadership Course.

Essentially, Mann went through ROTC’s capstone training event twice.

Mann never intended to join the Army when he started going to college.  He enlisted in the National Guard during his sophomore year and attended Basic Training.  Afterwards he accepted a contract with Seneca Battalion ROTC at St. Bonaventure University and entered the battalion as a MSIII.

At the time of the posting of this article, Mann has already commissioned as a 2nd Lt. on July 23rd, 2015. He wants to be a Military Police Officer and eventually work for the DEA or a “parallel three letter agency.”  He does not yet know his branch, as he will be assessed with rising cadets in their senior year this coming November. Until them, he will work full time in his hometown of Buffalo, New York.

“I’m nervous,” Mann said about finally receiving his gold bar after several years of training.  “I’ve learned a lot here… it’s perfect for right before a commissioning. There’s so much I’ve learned this summer from prior enlisted guys that have had deployment.”

Mann went on to describe a moment in training where he was a squad leader in charge of both a Special Forces soldier and an 82nd Airborne Division combat veteran and had to direct their sectors of fire in a simulated combat scenario.

“At one point the SF guy was telling me where to tell him to shoot,” Mann said.  “It was just one of those moments where I took a second and thought, wow, this is gonna be my call soon.  It was humbling.”

Before Mann got to that point in his ROTC career, he was humbled by a snake hole in the ground.  During the night land navigation portion of LDAC he’d been studying a compass while walking towards the second point he needed to find.  Mann spotted the point roughly 100 meters away and started towards it, not seeing the hole through the darkness in front of him.  He stepped into it, hearing an audible crack as his body wrenched forward.  His battle buddy rushed over to help him and tried to carry him to an aid station but he refused, instead continuing on to find the next eight points and finish the exercise.

Later he found out he’d fractured his ankle once in the fall and again walking on it all night.  He sent to the holding company for a week on crutches before being returned home.

“That was really frustrating,” Mann said.  “I’ve never broken anything in my life.  I’ve played contact sports, I’ve have had minor concussions, but there’s never been a point where that’s happened…and it happened at probably the most crucial point in the cadet land phase.  It was frustrating to come back on the MSIII (junior) side, but it reinforced a lot of things.”

Coping with his injury didn’t end when he left Fort Knox.  The first semester of Mann’s senior year he was the Executive Officer, or second in command, of his home battalion.  The second semester, he was the Commanding Officer.  In addition to his duties as a MSIV (senior) cadet, he had to tend to the injury and ensure he came out stronger than he went in.

“PT was a little bit of a challenge,” Mann said.  “I could still show up to PT and remember showing up to PT with the boot on, hanging out in the back of the formation and doing the workouts that I could.”

Undeterred, Mann healed over the course of his senior year and watched his class commission at the end of the year.  “I was excited for my friends, but I really wanted to be up there with them,” he said.  While many of them headed out for the Basic Officer Leadership Course at Army bases across the country, he remained and waited for his CLC regiment ship date.  He left on June 23rd.

One month later, the day before he graduated CLC, Mann received his gold bar alongside thirty other 2nd Lt.’s, his shoulder boards pinned on by his mother, brother, sister and girlfriend.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Mann said as he embraced his family after the ceremony had concluded.

Mann is just one of many success stories being pumped out of Fort Knox every year with brand new gold bars pinned to their shoulders.  He plans to vacation with his family in King’s Island when he returns home.

He is living proof that good things to those who wait.