Operation Warrior Forge
Since 1997, Joint Base Lewis McChord, formerly known as Fort Lewis, has been the host installation for the national senior-level Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) summer training event, bringing together Cadets representing more than 272 college and university ROTC programs from all 50 states, two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. A requisite step in the Cadet’s training for a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, the scope and duration of the operation make it the largest annual training exercise conducted by Training and Doctrine Command. Each summer more than 4,500 Army Cadre, Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians will once again provide critical support to ROTC Cadets and National Guard officer candidates at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), known as Operation Warrior Forge 2013.
The ROTC program was created by an act of Congress on June 3, 1916 and for 97 years has provided nearly two thirds of the Army’s commissioned officers during every American conflict and the times of peace in between. Each ROTC regiment will under go a 29-day cycle of scenario based training that incorporates the basic military skills that they have been learning in the classroom, culminating in a regimental graduation ceremony. Following LDAC, those Cadets who have earned their degree and completed all military science requirements will receive their commissions as second lieutenants during the regimental graduation ceremonies. The remainder of the Cadets will return to their respective universities to complete pre-commissioning requirements and subsequently receive their commissions.
Each cycle of training emphasizes team-building and leadership skill development. Cadets and candidates are provided with guidance, assigned leadership responsibilities and allowed to exercise small-unit leadership skills in a variety of positions ranging from squad leader to company commander. Camp Cadre provide guidance and training and assess each Cadet’s leadership abilities using the principles laid out in FM 22-10, Army Leadership. Each Cadet receives developmental feedback in the form of individual counseling, providing the necessary corrective actions to be taken before the next leadership opportunity. At the conclusion of LDAC, each Cadet receives additional developmental feedback in the form of the Cadet Evaluation Report, summarizing the Cadet’s total performance at LDAC Cadets are expected to possess the qualities of leadership characteristic of the Army officer and to be productive members of the team as well as being prepared to take charge when necessary. The LDAC is not a competition; rather, those with greater skills or experience are expected to selflessly assist comrades to make the entire team succeed. Some Cadets arriving at LDAC will be experiencing much of the training for the first time, others come to ROTC with years of prior enlisted service experience on which to draw. Each regiment comprises Cadets with a wide variety of skills. Only by working together as a team will the Cadets succeed. By the end of LDAC, Cadets will be challenged to put forth maximum effort and carry their new skills with them as they are commissioned as Army officers.