Tech ROTC cadets have taken the opportunity to participate in prestigious opportunities since the beginning of the year.Over the Christmas break, Chris Rice, a junior, and Keven Franks, a senior, participated in a 3-week Army Airborne school. At Fort Benning, Ga., these two men participated in a rigorous testing of the body and mind and learned how to accurately paratroop. This school also emphasized and challenged growth in leadership skills and confidence.
Fort Benning is a very prestigious site for paratrooping training. In 1940 it became the original school and location of paratrooper training in the U.S.
Rice and Franks were selected for this honor based on GPA, physical fitness performance, community service, and extra curricular activities.
“It takes great physical prowess to not only be able to run 5 miles a day in under 35 minutes, but also to devote the time to get in that shape after classes, homework, and any extra curricular activities,” Brian Joyner said.
Then, during Feb. at Camp Atterbury, Ind., Tech’s ROTC sent 10 cadets to participate in the fourth annual German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge Competition. Under Indiana University Army ROTC and German Liaisons from Fort Knox, Ky., approximately 450 cadets were tested in eight events to measure their overall stamina, strength and fitness. These events included a 200 meter swim, five kilometer run, 400 meter sprint, 9mm pistol range, shot put throw, high jump or long jump, first aid, and a 15 to 30 kilometer ruck march.
“Competition was fierce and the events were extremely challenging,” Major Ron Pepin said.
At the end of the competition, five Tech cadets received gold badges: Drake Carter, Chris Rice, Tanner Kerr, James Toliver, and Keven Franks. Two Tech cadets received a silver badge: Will Enicks and Tatum Donnelly. The competitions met its goal of challenging the cadets’ stamina, strength and fitness and rewarded all the cadets with a great deal of experience and GAFPB badges the cadets will wear the rest of their military careers.
Finally, Tech ROTC will participate in the rigorous Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) or operation “Warrior Forge,” this summer. Nine Tech cadets will travel to Fort Lewis, Wash. and participate in a 33-day training event which incorporates a wide range of subjects to develop and evaluate the cadets’ leadership ability. These nine cadets are Tanner Kerr, James Toliver, Jameson Young, Chris Rice, Tatum Donnelly, Keven Franks, Cody Chellman, Henry Schlottman, and Amanda Harris. They will be tested both mentally and physically with focused tests on intelligence, common sense, ingenuity, and stamina.
During the 33-day program, over 5000 Army cadets will be placed in stressful combat situations to evaluate their ability to make decisions under pressure. In addition to these mental tests they will be expected to meet standards in physical fitness, weapons training, communication, combat patrols, and proficiency in many other military skills.
“It’s a culmination of all the skills they have learned in their three year period in the Tech ROTC program,” said Major Jim Reed.
It is necessary for the cadets to excel at operation “Warrior Forge” if they have aspirations to compete for a competitive commissioned Army officer.