Deep in the woods on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets took cover in the lush foliage and waited for the perfect moment to make their attack. Fifty feet away, two Cadre members posed as fake enemy targets as the Cadets began slowly and quietly closing the gap on their enemies before beginning their ambush. Within seconds, both targets were on the ground and the ambush was complete.
Cadets spend seven days at the squad situational training exercise lanes working on ambushes, attacks, reconnaissance, and tactical movement during the 2013 Leader Development and Assessment Course. During the first two days, Cadets are trained before they go out in the lanes and execute their new tactical knowledge on days three and four. Squads spend two hours at each of the six lanes, and six squad leaders are evaluated per day. The following day is a refitting day and days six and seven are devoted to patrolling where Cadets lead a platoon of approximately 50 Soldiers.
“Hopefully they work together a little better as a team after this,” said Pvt. Louis A. Harrington, the trainer evaluator for 1st Regiment, Bravo Co. “This helps prepare them not only to lead a squad one day, but teaches them basic tactical knowledge. No matter what branch they’re in, they’re a Soldier first.”
The Cadets prepare to tackle the squad situational training throughout their time in the ROTC program and the training at LDAC helps bring all of their hard work full circle.
“We’ve been working on every aspect of these lanes for the past three years, so to finally see a culmination of it all is really cool,” said Cadet Rebecca Wogec, a nursing student at the University of Kentucky-Lexington. “It’s definitely going to test us under pressure, and it’ll help us as leaders in the future.”
Cadet Michael Resendiz from Utah Valley University served as the squad leader for 1st Reg. Bravo Co. 3rd platoon, 4th squad. Before the mock ambush, he was briefed on the assignment by Cadre and was responsible for communicating and executing a plan with his squad. He took this job seriously, understanding that this training exercise will make him a better Soldier in the future.
“This will help us at a more strategic operational level when we commission as officers,” said Resendiz. “For those that are going into combat arms, this is going to be the foundation that prefaces our advanced training once we leave.”
Cadets receive two out of their four evaluations during these seven days, so doing well is a priority among Cadets. Although the event is fun, it is also a lot of hard work and pressure.
“How they do here indicates which component they’ll get in the Army,” said Harrington. “Cadets are excited to do it and excited to get it done at the same time.”