5 Unique Experiences You Can Gain While In ROTC

20150630_0624195.)Attend Training at Fort Knox

Every summer MS I through MS III cadets from all over the country attend training at Fort Knox, learning and perfecting the soldier skills they do not have the facilities for on their home campuses. Lasting 28 days, these training events are some of the most valuable time spent in the ROTC curriculum. Cadets are challenged daily through obstacle courses, intensive learning courses, tests, and at least a week spent in the field conducting mock combat missions. Want to see if ROTC is for you? Non-contracted ROTC cadets can attend cadet summer training (CST) without any obligation to the Army.

4.)Combat Water Survival Training

Cadets learn how to survive on the open water in full uniform and from a several meter high fall.  Training includes how to quickly ditch any heavy equipment and returning to the surface while retaining weapons and distance swimming as well as the survival float.

3.)Attend Specialty Schools

Ever wanted to go Airborne? Air Assault? Attend Mountain Warfare school? Contracted cadets can attend these elite Army training schools if their school is lucky enough to get a slot.  These schools are highly sought after in the Army and provide valuable combat-oriented training for those who want to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft for a living.

2.) Travel the world with CULP

CULP stands for Cultural Understanding and Language Program.  Its a program where cadets travel to destinations around the globe such as Thailand or Montenegro and work with the local people, learning about their cultures and their languages for three weeks before returning home.  It is considered to be one of the best events a Cadet can attend and looks very good on a cadet’s resume.

1.) Earn the rank of 2nd. Lt.

Fewer than 1% of the United States population knows what it’s like to have gold bars pinned on their shoulders.  Earning the rank of 2nd. Lt. and becoming an officer in the Army is an honorable goal that can jumpstart your career and give you advantages over any job competitor you may have.  Become a leader for life and use the skills you mastered in ROTC to lead soldiers and influence others. Join the greatest team the world has ever known as a leader.

5 Skills You Can Learn in ROTC

5.)  The basics of military leadership and professionalism.

20150903_155413In Military Science 101, students are taught specific techniques on how to cope with stress, manage time, how to identify and eliminate possible stressors and time wasters, and customs and courtesies in and out of uniform.  Become the master of yourself and the things that stress you out.

4.)Learn basic Land Navigation and Survival Skills


Cadets enrolled in the Military Science lab learn military land navigation and survival skills, how to read maps and move from location to location using only a compass and pace count.  Cadets practice this skill several times in the semester at labs and during Field Training Exercises (FTX)

3.) First Aid


Ever cut yourself while camping? Had to carry a friend home after too much fun in town? In the First Aid lab cadets learn how to treat injuries such as burns, cuts, gunshot wounds, broken bones, blocked airways and more.  They also learn several methods of casualty evacuation from various carries to stretcher bearing.

2.)Proper Utilization Of The M-16 rifle


Who doesn’t like a good day at the range? One lab of the year is spent at the rifle range, learning the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship and utilizing them to undergo military qualification at the range.

1.) Teamwork and Communication

20151002_171637-2Teamwork and communication is essential everywhere, civilian or military. ROTC is designed to quickly and effectively teach people to come together as a team and communicate to achieve a final goal.  Whether leading a group of salesmen at a business conference or soldiers on the battlefield, communication is everything.

Seneca Battalion participates in Admissions Open House

The Seneca Battalion table set up in the Richter Center as part of the Admissions Open House.
The Seneca Battalion table set up in the Richter Center as part of the Admissions Open House.

On Saturday October 17th, members of Seneca Battalion staffed a booth in support of St. Bonaventure University’s Admissions Open House in the Richter Center.

The objective of the Open House was to display the university to prospective students.  In the Richter Center were several tables for each of St. Bonaventure’s over fifty clubs and groups, set up to show the type of extra curricular activities students undertake while attending the university.

Members of Seneca Battalion handed out branded merchandise and spoke to potential students, spreading the word about ROTC and the benefits of the program.   Interested students were given informational packets and applications for next year.

If you have any questions about Seneca Battalion or the ROTC program in general, please contact, Mr. Jared Kausner, Recruiting Operations Officer at JKAUSNER@sbu.edu.

Lab Week 6: PCC & PCI

CDT Furgal demonstrates the best method in re-packing a ruck.
CDT Furgal demonstrates the best method in re-packing a ruck.

This week Seneca Battalion conducted pre-combat insepctions as party of preparations for the annual Fall Field Training Exercise (FTX).

A full layout of all the gear a cadet packs in their rucksack for FTX.
A full layout of all the gear a cadet packs in their rucksack for FTX.

Pre combat checks and pre combat inspections are used by Army leadership to ensure all soldiers are prepared and equipped for their mission.  PCC’s are informal and conducted by team and squad leaders;  PCC’S are formal and conducted by platoon leaders or higher.

Seneca Battalion conducts PCI’S before every training exercise to make sure that every cadet is prepared for whatever the training may throw at them.

Typically a PCI is a full layout of all mission essential equipment on a unit wide packing list.  Cadets cram everything they need into their rucksack and empty it out for squad leaders to inspect before repacking, usually with plastic bags to keep the contents of the ruck from getting wet.

wpid-wp-1445198232493.jpgWhile such assurances may seem mundane, it is critically important to ensure everyone is prepared for field training.  The harsh weather that cadets face during the all FTX can easily cause cold weather injuries.  Forgetting something as simple as gloves is enough to ruin the training exercise for everyone.

Next week Seneca Battalion will conduct FTX, where they will be in a fictional combat scenario for over 48 hours, utilizing the skills they have learned in the past six weeks to accomplish whatever mission put before them.

SuperLab #1 – OPORDs, Land Navigation

For the first time ever, Seneca Battalion conducted a SuperLab – an intensive seven hour event focused on mastering essential skills taught during the normal ROTC lab.

Cadets move towards the RV (Rendezvous) point during the SuperLab in order to link up with friendly forces and conduct a key leader engagement.
Cadets move towards the RV (Rendezvous) point during the SuperLab in order to link up with friendly forces and conduct a key leader engagement.

A SuperLab is designed to enhance the skills that cadets have already been taught but do not have the time to perfect in the weekly Military Science lab.  Many skills that take days or weeks to teach in Basic Training for enlisted soldiers are covered once or twice in the two hour training labs for ROTC cadets.  This lack of time forces cadets to quickly master the skills needed to function as a 2nd Lt. and leaves little room for error.

The first SuperLab covered Operations Orders, or OPORDs, and Land Navigation.  An OPORD is the standardized format through which an Army officer issues instructions on how to complete a mission.  It is very in depth and requires strict adherence to the format to avoid confusion.  MS III cadets received classroom instruction from cadre while MS II and MS I cadets received instruction from MS IV cadets.

Land Navigation is an essential skill that requires several hours of practice.  Cadets previously learned the basics of land nav in the classroom and had the opportunity to go out and find three points in the woods surrounding the St. Bonaventure campus.  Allotted an hour and a half, MS III cadets went out alone and MS II and MS I cadets went out in pairs.

The final event of the SuperLab was a culminating exercise that focused on land nav and unit movement.  The Battalion broke into two squad sized elements and moved towards different objectives, utilizing several of the different formations learned in previous labs.  Once they arrived in their positions they were redirected to a Rendezvous  Point at which they were supposed to conduct a Key Leader engagement, a common mission undergone by American troops today.

All of this is in preparation for the Battalion’s fall Field Training Exercise, where cadets will spend two days in a simulated combat environment.

Lab Week #5 – Tactical Application of Battle Drills

CDT Clancy leads a formation of cadets down a road on the simulated ambush lane.
CDT Clancy leads a formation of cadets down a road on the simulated ambush lane.

This week, Seneca Battalion applied previously learned knowledge to real world scenarios – and made first contact with the enemy.

OPFOR takes aim at cadets during the review phase.
OPFOR takes aim at cadets during the review phase.

Using lessons learned from Lab Week 3, cadets underwent exercises where an active Opposition Force, or OPFOR, was used to test their knowledge and adaptive leadership skills of their squad leaders.

This phase of learning is known as the “walk” phase, where cadets’ skills are improved by practical exercises focused on solidifying the basics rather than generating an end result.

The lab began with a review of three battle drills: react to contact, break contact, and react to ambush.  Each squad got a chance to act as the demonstrating squad while the two others looked on, rotating through each battle drill.

OPFOR attack the cadet formation, requiring them to react to contact.
OPFOR attack the cadet formation, requiring them to react to contact.

The next phase of the lab was practical exercises, where the squads split into two different groups and underwent two separate missions; one designed to simulate an ambush and the other designed to force the cadets to react to contact.

Both groups rotated through the lanes that forced them to rely on both the battle drills they had learned and adapting to constantly changing situations.

This is all in preparation for the Battalion’s FTX, or Field Training Exercise, that is quickly approaching, where Seneca Battalion will spend over 48 hours in a combat scenario.

Seneca Battalion assists with St. Bonaventure University’s Freshmen Leadership Program

Participants cross the Broken Bridge obstacle as part of the Freshmen Leadership Seminar.
Participants cross the Broken Bridge obstacle as part of the Freshmen Leadership Program. The group pictured here did so in four and a half minutes – without speaking.

On Friday, September 25th, the Seneca Battalion invited students from the SBU Freshmen Leadership Program to negotiate the ROTC’s Field Leaders Reaction Course, or FLRC.  Several members of Seneca Battalion instructed 22 freshman participants and their group leaders on three obstacles, the Broken Bridge, the Minefield, and the Wall.

Participants attempt the Wall obstacle at the FLRC
Participants attempt the Wall obstacle at the FLRC

While the FLRC is primarily a course used for ROTC training, it is a challenging event that tests any leaders’ ability to form, communicate, and execute a plan.  While a single leader is not always emphasized on the FLRC, group integrity and teamwork are, and all groups demonstrated that in their time on the course.

Starting at 16:00, participants made their way down to the FLRC and were briefed by CDT Byrne before splitting into groups and heading onto the course.  They were given 20 minutes per obstacle, with five minutes to plan and 15 to execute.

The main objective of the event was to challenge freshman leaders and show them that things they believe to be hard or impossible can be achieved through teamwork and dedication.  Seneca Battalion plans on holding more of these events in the near future.

Participants celebrate successfully completing the FLRC.
Participants celebrate successfully completing the FLRC.