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ROTC Training Goes Beyond the Battlefield

Sgt.+Brawn+instructs+the+class+about+the+drills+before+they+start
Sgt. Brawn instructs the class about the drills before they start

Sgt. Brawn instructs the class about the drills before they start

Whitney Bolar for The Easterner

Whitney Bolar for The Easterner

Sgt. Brawn instructs the class about the drills before they start

By Kyle Fredricks, Staff Reporter

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Throughout the school year, the ROTC cadets participate in labs and fieldwork designed to improve a cadet’s leadership, personal courage and teamwork skills.

The ROTC program at EWU is open to all students and is a two-year program where students can learn all the necessary military skills and decide for themselves if they want to pursue a career in the military.

Maj. Michael Eliassen, who teaches the ROTC program, said the high ropes, rappelling drills and weekly labs focus on teaching leadership excellence and loyalty. Cadets are presented with a challenge and must work together to complete the task.

“These labs are designed to teach individual tactics,” said Eliassen. “We have a water based lab where cadets will tread water for five minutes, swim a specific distance and do a dive with weapons. All these labs help familiarize the cadets with common tasks they will have to perform while enforcing selfless service and how to put your nation and other people first.”

This quarter cadets in the ROTC program participated in a high ropes course and rappelling, two exercises that emphasized trust and teamwork.

Tyler Bergman, an EWU sophomore, said that the high ropes course was good for building trust and team bonding. One cadet would perform a climb while the others would be in communication, offering constant encouragement and support until the cadet finished the task.

“So far, the ROTC program has taught me a ton of life lessons,” said Bergman. “How to slow down and think through situations before acting, and how to look after myself and those around me.”

Bergman said the ropes course taught him how to adapt quickly to different situations and how to problem solve. He said when he was up on the high ropes course alone he had to quickly think of a plan, but also remind himself to stay calm and trust himself or he wasn’t going to get anything accomplished.

The ROTC program also participated in a rappelling course where cadets worked with the Cheney Fire Department, learning the correct techniques and how to properly rappel down a building.

Rafael Flores, an EWU junior, said that the purpose of the rappelling was a trust exercise, as well as a way to learn teamwork skills.

“These are important exercises and drills because it allows the new and old cadets to work together,” said Flores. “It gives cadets the chance to work on teamwork skills, as well as learn the strengths and weaknesses of every individual so they can work that much better as a team. It’s a good way for cadets to have fun while learning important lessons.”

Other weekly labs that ROTC cadets participate in are basic drills and marching, navigation using a map and compass, civilian world training, basic soldier skills, a combat lifesaver lab and casualty care, as well as weapons training.

Eliassen said that these labs are all based around light infantry tactics and are how the ROTC program determines leadership.

“When we put cadets into leadership positions, we want to see how they work and interact with others,” said Elissaen. “We want a person who will stay cool, calm, and have a respectful demeanor about them in pressure situations. Leadership is all about putting others before yourself, supporting the constitution, respecting the uniform, performing your duties, loyalty to your country and having courage.”

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ROTC Training Goes Beyond the Battlefield