Lab Week 10 – Radio Communications/Cold Weather Survival

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This week Seneca Battalion took a break from the battle drills and focused on classroom instruction.

Splitting into three different sections the battalion spent time learning how to program and send radio transmisions on the PRC-119 radio, learned proper radio etiquette and practiced calling in MEDEVAC support, and learned cold weather survival techniques.

Cadets took turns assembling and programming the radios, then sending 9-line MEDEVAC requests to a MS III cadet in another location to simulate actually calling for a MEDEVAC in the real world.  Once cadets completed the radio portion they moved onto the cold weather portion, which was classroom session that taught the basics of survival and preparation in the cold weather.

Seneca Battalion looks forward to Dining In, a formal dinner in which the Battalion celebrates Army traditions and enjoys skits put on by each MS class.

Lab Week 9 – Ambush

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CDT Farley provides flank security while other cadets move into position for an ambush.

Seneca Battalion took to the woods this week to practice the art of the ambush.

There are several types of ambushes applicable to the myriad of tactical situations that a platoon can find itself in; the three taught at the lab were linear, L-shaped, and V-shaped ambushes.  All three are primarily focused on attacking roads that enemy forces use as high-speed avenues of approach and egress on the battlefield.

The linear ambush is a single formation of soldiers parallel with the road; it is the fastest and simplest type of ambush to set up.  Often it is used along a long, straight road where there is a ditch or some other form of cover that allows the unit to hide nearby.  An L Shaped ambush is used at a sharp bend in the road, where the unit can open fire and assault from two different angles.  A V-shaped ambush is used when there is no cover next to the road and soldiers have to lay in concealment farther out, firing from a greater range at an angle which prevents friendly fire.

A diagram displaying a platoon linear ambush.
A diagram displaying a platoon linear ambush.

While there are many different formations for an ambush, the concept is the same.  The intent of an ambush, whether it is executed at the squad or platoon level, is to catch the enemy off guard and destroy them as quickly as possible.  Once the unit is at the Objective Rally Point, or ORP, the squad or platoon leader will move out with a small security detachment and execute a leader’s recon on the ambush area, deciding the type of ambush that the unit will perform.  The leader will place security on the flanks and bring the rest of the unit up, placing them evenly between the flank security teams to focus fire on a particular point, the kill zone.  Once the soldiers are in place the leader will set up a mass-casualty producing weapon, such as a Claymore anti-personnel mine, M-240B machine gun or AT-4 rocket launcher.

Once the enemy has entered the kill zone the leader will initiate the ambush with that mass-casualty producing weapon and start what is known as the “mad minute” – where the entire unit opens fire on the enemy in the kill zone for several seconds until they are all down.  Then the unit will move onto the road and quickly secure the area, collect enemy weapons and intelligence, call up to higher command, and destroy the enemy weapons in place as they move off of the objective.

Seneca Battalion broke into squads and practiced executing these ambushes in the woods behind St. Bonaventure, using MS II cadets as squad leaders in an effort to prepare them to be leaders for the next two years as well as to prepare them to lead their own tactical lanes at Leadership Training Exercises in the future.

Lab Week 8 – Reconnaissance

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CDT’s Sourbeer and Kelly describe the proper recon procedure to a MSII cadet while he lays in security during the Recon lab.

Reconnaissance is one of the most important tools that a commander has while planning an operation.  Whether on the battlefield or in garrison, knowing the area of operations before a mission is set to commence can mean the difference between victory and defeat.  The leader’s recon is a mainstay of US Army squad and platoon level tactics, done in the hours or even minutes before an attack, whereas a route, zone, or area recon is a tasking in and of itself for a squad or platoon on the ground in a combat zone.

Seneca Battalion cadets learned the route/zone/area recon techniques this past week, first in a classroom session and then in a training exercise in the woods.  While all of them experienced a recon lane at the Battalion’s LTX, many of the younger MSI and II cadets stayed in security while MS III cadets performed the actual recon.  This lab was meant to correct that and show the younger cadets the methods of how to conduct the recon once they’ve left the security of the rest of their squad.

The Battalion split into three squads, all laying in security while taking turns going out on the recon.  The two squads that remained received supplemental training covering a wide variety of topics.  As each squad came back their turn they reported their findings to a MSIV.

Once all of the squads came back the cadets performed an After Action Review and were dismissed.

If you have any questions about ROTC at St. Bonaventure, please contact Mr. Jared Kausner at JKAUSNER@sbu.edu

Seneca BN conducts yearly  Leadership Training Exercise

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Once a semester, ROTC battalions spend a weekend in the field perfecting leadership and soldier skills they learn in their weekly labs.  These events are called LTX’s, or Leadership Training Exercises, and are critical in a cadet’s development both as a leader and a soldier.

Seneca Battalion spent the weekend in the woods behind St. Bonaventure’s campus in a fictional border region between two countries where the Battalion had to split into squads and complete small unit missions against an insurgent force played by the Battalion’s MSIV’s.

The LTX went from 3:00 p.m. on Friday to about noon on Sunday, the entire time spent in a combat scenario.  Weapons had to be within arm’s reach at all times.  Guards roamed the camp’s perimeter at night, challenging anyone who got too close.  Red light lenses had to be used in hours of darkness to prevent revealing positions from afar and constant accountability of all personnel and equipment was paramount.

The first night was spent in review classes, ensuring that each cadet was proficient in the tasks necessary to successfully complete a squad-level mission.  The following morning, beginning at 5 a.m., cadets woke to begin establishing unit SOP’s, or Standard Operating Procedures, and practicing their skills for the missions ahead.  At noon, cadets broke for lunch and headed out to start their missions.

The cadets were broken down into four squads with three or four MSIII cadets and several MSI and II’s.  The MSIII’s rotated as squad leaders after every mission, the intent being that they get practice for the chance when they will lead a platoon-sized mission when they attend the Cadet Leader’s Course this summer at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  There were for tactical missions, or lanes, each with a different objective and task to complete.  They were an ambush, a recon, a squad attack, and a patrol along a road laden with fictional IED’s, or Improvised Explosive Devices.  One big difference this year was that paintball guns were used for the duration of the exercise – meaning the opposing forces would actually be shooting at each other instead of yelling “Bang, Bang” as in years past.

The lanes lasted until 6 p.m., when cadets returned to Assembly Area “Freedom” and conducted a review of the day’s missions, identifying successes and deficiencies they’d encountered during the day.

After eating a hot meal cadets received the news that they would be conducting platoon attacks starting at 6 a.m. the following morning.  While most slept, the cadets that had been identified as platoon leadership stayed awake and planned the operation, which would require moving over 3 miles through woods, swamp, and hilly terrain – mostly in the dark.  Their mission was to attack and destroy an enemy listening post positioned alongside a crucial road that crossed the border

The following day cadets rose and quickly moved out, taking to the darkened forests behind St. Bonaventure, their objective near Gargoyle Park in Olean.  Cadets quickly learned the challenges of operating at night and in large groups, taking roughly five hours to complete the mission and return to camp.  After a brief review, they were released.

LTX 2015 stressed teaching leadership roles to cadets as early as possible.  Unlike past years, MS II cadets were assigned as team leaders so they could begin to learn leadership in the field early.  This development is crucial to ensure strong leadership skills going into the MSIII year, where cadets are expected to take charge both in the field and in garrison.

Now with its teeth cut, Seneca Battalion will spend the remainder of the semester perfecting the skills tested at LTX, striving to ever-improve tactical performance.

If you have any questions about ROTC at St. Bonaventure, Alfred State College, Alfred University, Houghton College, Jamestown Community College, or the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, please contact Jared Kausner at JKAUSNER@sbu.edu

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

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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

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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

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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.