UMaine ROTC cadets got a taste of real-life field training for the first time.
We’ll have the Black Hawks coming in,” says C/Lt Col. Nathan Ackerson. “They’re coming to pick up our freshmen and sophomores and bring them out.”
“We try to get them trained where we can actually get on aircraft, fly to the objective, land, get off the aircraft and just go immediately into one of your missions,” says MSG Thomas Banister, who serves as the Senior Military Instructor for UMaine ROTC. “It’s much more real that way.”
This is Spring FTX – the cadets have been training all semester to head to Plymouth and work with the Army National Guard.
“I love it, especially when – here when it’s off campus and it’s not behind the university where we don’t know the terrain so you can get familiar with the different lanes that we do on campus so you already know what you’re going to expect,” explains Cadet Ashley Anderson. “Here everything is new so you really get to test your skills.”
“This is a thousand times better,” Cadet Thomas Fontaine says. “One, we get to stay outside and two, the lanes are more realistic. You see how we got here? That was so cool.”
The cadets will be staying at the training site overnight. They’ll simulate squad and platoon operations.
“They’re moving through the woods where they’re anticipating, if you will, bumping into an enemy force who may also be moving through the woods,” Banister says.
Many of these cadets will be assuming leadership roles for the first time.
“It’s a matter of them getting out there and seeing what they’re made of. You see them at a very young age and you see that developmental process take shape and as they get older and they have more experiences they put all that into action and seeing them do these kinds of things – it’s just amazing. It’s one of the greatest things I’ll ever have to do.”