Field Training Exercises (FTX)
In November, Princeton ROTC holds its Fall FTX at Fort Dix in New Jersey. The FTX is an exercise held over the course of a weekend during which cadets use skills previously learned during leadership labs such as Land Navigation and Troop Leading Procedures. Cadets spend 1 to 2 nights in the field receiving additional training and executing events in conditions similar to those they will encounter at LDAC and in future training.
The Spring FTX is held in cooperation with other local ROTC programs. Typically only MSIIIs and MSIVs are required to attend this event where MSIIIs prepare for LDAC which they will attend in the following months. These are the only required events that take place on the weekend.
During the academic year, cadets participate in Leadership Labs typically held on a Friday afternoon. The labs are planned and executed by the MSIV Class with support from cadre while MSIIIs typically provide instruction for MSIs and MSIIs.
Individual Movement Techniques (IMT): Cadets learn the fundamentals of individual movement, moving in buddy teams and squad and fire teams.
Land Navigation (LandNav): Cadets learn to use a compass and protractor to plot grid coordinates on a map and navigate to those points.
Squad Situational Training Exercise (SSTX): Cadets participate in different missions. MSIVs brief a Platoon-level Operations Order (OPORD) to MSIIIs who are then responsible for developing a Squad-level OPORD and executing the mission. MSIIs participate as Fire Team leaders while MSIs participate as riflemen.
Combat Water Survival Test (CWST): Cadets learn the fundamentals of combat water survival including techniques for construction expedient flotation device. They build confidence and develop water survival skills. At the end of the lab, cadets must swim 15 meters in uniform with a weapon and LBE and conduct a 3 meter drop into the pool while blindfolded with a weapon and LBE.
Patrolling Operations: The Patrolling lab tests a cadet’s ability to use knowledge of IMT, LandNav and squad battle drills and collective tasks to accomplish Patrolling missions.
Physical Training (PT):
Each week, there are 3 PT sessions at TCNJ. Each session consists of one hour of physical training, planned and executed by cadets with cadre supervision.
Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT):
The program holds two Army Physical Fitness Tests per semester, the first as a diagnostic test and the second for record. The APFT consists of 2 minutes of pushups, 2 minutes of situps and a 2 mile run. Standards for each event vary by age and gender, with a maximum score of 300 points on the standard scale.
Princeton ROTC encourages cadets to take personal responsibility for developing their own fitness ethos. Cadets are expected to maintain excellent physical fitness and aim for the highest possible score on Army Physical Fitness Test with 100 points in each event.
Additional PT Opportunities:
In addition to Standard PT, the program also offers other PT opportunities. The Ranger Challenge team holds its own PT sessions to prepare for the Ranger Challenge competition.
Ranger Challenge is the “Varsity” sport of Army ROTC. Participation in Ranger Challenge offers cadets an opportunity to learn and practice skills beyond those instructed in class and during labs. The focus of training is on light infantry tactics and other skills prescribed by FM 3-21.8 (Rifle Platoon and Squad) and the Ranger Handbook. Events include the Hand Grenade Assault Course, One-Rope Bridge and Weapons Qualification on the EST2000 simulator. The Ranger Challenge team holds PT and additional training events during the week in addition to regularly scheduled classes and labs.
Summer Training Opportunities
Army ROTC cadets may attend the US Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. This physically demanding three-week course trains soldiers to conduct military parachute operations. During the final week of the course, cadets conduct five parachute jumps as a prerequisite to graduation. Cadets who graduate are awarded the U.S. Army Parachutist Badge. Airborne School adds to an officer’s professional development regardless of future Branch or assignment choices. Airborne qualification is a prerequisite for assignment to Airborne units such as the 82nd Airborne Division and 173rd Airborne Brigade. Additionally, extra military schooling opportunities may be made available upon graduation from the Officers’ Basic Course to officers who are already Airborne qualified.
Air Assault School:
Army ROTC cadets may attend the US Army Air Assault School at any of a number of Army posts. This physically demanding 12 day course trains soldiers to conduct military operations with Army Aviation support. In addition to a challenging physical training program, the course includes instruction on preparing and inspecting external sling loads, rappelling from helicopters, and a 12-mile timed road march in full combat gear. Cadets who graduate are awarded the U.S. Army Air Assault Badge. Air Assault School adds to an officer’s professional development regardless of future Branch or assignment choices. Air Assault qualification is a requirement for officers assigned to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Mountain Warfare School:
Mountain Warfare School is a two-week course taught by the Vermont National Guard at Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, Vermont. The training is designed to make you an expert in mountain operations. Mountain Warfare School is both physically and mentally demanding. Training is non-stop, 15 hours per day, for 14 days. If you can carry a 65-pound rucksack up to five miles per day in mountainous terrain and are competent with both day and night land navigation you may have what it takes to complete this course.
Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency:
CULP is a cultural immersion program that allows selected cadets to travel to another country for the summer. Selection for the program is based on a cadet’s GPA and foreign language proficiency. This program provides cadets with the opportunity to study in foreign countries or within the united states with foreign military personnel. The goal of this training is to develop culturally competent leaders who are able to function in the contemporary operational environment. Cadets must have a basic knowledge of the local language as they may be placed in a position to interact with the indigenous populace and government and reflect the appropriate cultural sensitivities in positive interactions with the media. CULP internship locations include China, Indonesia, Japan, Morocco. Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Botswana, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Panama, and Mongolia.
Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC):
From the Cadet Command Web Site:
The ROTC Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) or operation WARRIOR FORGE is the most important training event for an Army ROTC cadet or National Guard Officer Candidate. The 33-day training event incorporates a wide range of subjects designed to develop and evaluate leadership ability. The challenges are rigorous and demanding, both mentally and physically. WARRIOR FORGE tests intelligence, common sense, ingenuity, and stamina. These challenges provide a new perspective on an individual’s ability to perform exacting tasks and to make difficult decisions in demanding situations.
WARRIOR FORGE places each cadet and officer candidate in a variety of leadership positions, many of which simulate stressful combat situations. In each position, cadets will receive evaluations from platoon tactical and counseling (TAC) officers and noncommissioned officers. In addition to proving their leadership ability, cadets and officer candidates must meet established standards in physical fitness, weapons training, communication, combat patrols and demonstrate their proficiency in many other military skills. Cadets and officer candidates must excel at WARRIOR FORGE to be considered competitive for a commission as an Army officer.