ROTC cadets from PSU and WSU practiced their skills in field training exercises at training camp.
From Oct. 21 to Oct. 24, 104 students from Pittsburg State University and Wichita State
University’s (WSU) ROTC programs took part in a field training exercise together at Camp Crowder in Neosho, MO. The field training exercise is required for all students who have gained contracts in the military science program, and a field training exercise is held at least once every semester.
The training camp was run by senior students in the program. Training included exercises such as
grenade throwing, weapons care and use, day and night land navigation, tactical combat casualty care, and Blackhawk tours.
“We come here for most of our training exercises and our super labs on the weekends and we use this place basically to learn all the skills that we need to pass our camp,” said Suzzie Eubanks, sophomore in nursing. “Which is one of the most important things we have to do to commission and to actually go into the army as an officer.”
Esperanza Deterding, senior in communication, said WSU’s program is too small to support on its own. As a partner with WSU’s ROTC, Pittsburg State helps to support WSU’s program by working together in exercises so that WSU students also have the chance to take part in training camp.
“I would say the importance is kind of just getting more of the hands-on knowledge,” said Jordan
Cullen, junior in nursing. “Like, yeah you get the classroom knowledge but being out here in (field training exercise) you get the hands on. You get to do land-nav, you get to see how you’re all about it, you get to actually shoot when you can’t shoot back at your home school, and you get your leadership reps in.”
The ROTC program currently faces issues with enrollment. Deterding said the problem is caused by student dropouts, which are common because of the work that is required of students.
“Sometimes ROTC can get really busy, especially if you’re also a working student like I am,”
Eubanks said. “But I manage it well, I don’t think it’s too strenuous.”
Deterding said that extra training is given in certain exercises to raise the morale of students; more time spent with the more enjoyable exercises help to keep them in the program.
“It’s a lot of mental toughness and physical toughness,” Deterding said. “…Even though ROTC is
considered a minor, we do as much and more than majors.”
Eubanks said the first two years of ROTC are free of commitment. It allows students to explore
the program and their interests before making a decision to make a contract with the military.
“One cool thing about ROTC is, you don’t have to commit your life before you figure out what you want,” Eubanks said.
ROTC cadets have seen the benefits of joining the program, according to Eubanks. Students enjoy financial benefits as well as the experience and skills gained through the program.
“It’s definitely helped me to gain a lot of leadership skills that I probably wouldn’t get anywhere else,” Cullen said. “I’ve definitely met a lot of friends I think that I would’ve probably never (met) if I hadn’t joined ROTC.”