Seneca BN conducts yearly  Leadership Training Exercise


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


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

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.

Seneca Battalion participates in Bonagany festivities

CDT Smith displays the US Army engraved KA-Bar knife that was raffled off at the Seneca Battalion ROTC tent during BonaGany on Saturday, September 26th.
CDT Smith displays the US Army engraved KA-BAR knife that was raffled off at the Seneca Battalion ROTC tent during BonaGany on Saturday, September 26th.

Every year Seneca Battalion ROTC has a tent at the local Bonagany festival in Allegany, New York.  Offering grilled hotdogs and hamburgers for sale, Cadets take turns working shifts at the tent passing out recruiting materials and paracord bracelets as well as various St. Bonaventure ROTC merchandise like custom basketballs and water bottles.  Proceeds were to benefit the Gold Bar club, which acts as the extracurricular ROTC group that raises money to fund various cadet activities.

Two Seneca Battalion cadets do pushups with a student trying to earn a basketball at the ROTC table.
Two Seneca Battalion cadets do pushups with a student trying to earn a basketball at the ROTC table.

This year cadets added some fun to the work with a pushup contest and games for people to try.  Twenty pushups earned onlookers a small prize, thirty a basketball.

Seneca Battalion cadets quickly ran out of both recruiting materials and food, having to run back to the ROTC department multiple times.

After all was said and done, Seneca Battalion raised several hundred dollars towards future events like Dining In and Military Ball, which are formal ceremonies conducted at the end of each semester to celebrate the ROTC traditions.

Lab Week 3- Battle Drills

Members of Seneca Battalion undergo React to Ambush training during lab.
Members of Seneca Battalion undergo React to Ambush training during lab.

This week, Seneca Battalion learned some of the Army’s battle drills.

The Army defines a battle drill as “a collective action rapidly executed without applying a deliberate decision-making process…” Essentially, it is a task that soldiers train on to be able to perform at a moment’s notice in combat.

Seneca Battalion learned Battle Drills 1A, the Squad Attack, 2, React to Contact, 3, Breaking Contact, and  4, React to Ambush.  Each Battle Drill is designed to serve a unique purpose that increases the survivability and overall effectiveness of our fighting forces.

Battle Drill 1A is the standard attack used to clear an objective by a squad.  It involves the squad splitting into two fire teams and flanking the objective, each taking turns sweeping through the objective before providing security at the end.

Battle Drill 2 is the standard reaction to enemy fire, where soldiers return fire and take cover, usually aggressively advancing on the enemy afterwords.

Battle Drill 3 is Breaking Contact, where a squad initiates tactical fallback maneuvers after receiving fire from the enemy.

Battle Drill 4 is React to Ambush.  There are two types of ambush, near and far.  Near is when the enemy is within hand grenade throwing distance and the reaction is for the team that is engaged to immediately charge the enemy.  Far is when the enemy is at a distance greater than 50 meters and the team that receives enemy fire provides cover while the other team flanks and destroys the enemy.

Cadets rotated through three stations, each taught by an MS III and assistant instructors, learning a Battle Drill at each station.  Afterwords the MS III instructors concluded the lesson by demonstrating Battle Drill 1A for the MS I and MS II cadets.

For more information about Seneca Battalion ROTC, call or email Mr. Jared Kausner, Recruiting Operations Officer at 375-2568 or