ROTC senior cadets faced a bittersweet ending to their college careers on April 20 at South Mountain Reservation, as they assisted junior cadets with their last technical field training before junior cadets attend an assessment course in the summer.
“It’s a weird feeling knowing that I am not coming back,” said Patrick Hurley, a senior political science major.
For eight hours, two groups consisting of all class rankings were led by junior cadets in a small unit tactic mission, while the senior cadets observed.
The Pirate Battalion conducts three technical field-training sessions per semester, one of which is overnight.
Leonardo Alonso, a junior criminal justice major, said that the senior’s leadership has helped the junior cadets to prepare for the summer course through their leadership in and outside of field training.
This summer, junior cadets will be attending the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Knox in Kentucky. According to Seton Hall’s website, the four week course evaluates and trains all Army ROTC Cadets, which normally takes place between the cadet’s junior and senior year of college. It is a requirement to do well at the course to graduate.
“When [the seniors] are able to tell us that we’re screwing up, it’s because they screwed up at some point,” Alonso said.
Alonso said that the senior cadets mostly kept quiet during the field training, but would give advice if they believed juniors were not completing a task correctly. He finds the advice helpful because the senior cadets have faced similar situations and have completed the summer course.
Major Baldenweck, an assistant professor of military science who teaches the junior cadets, attended the technical field training. She said cadets have learned from mistakes in prior field sessions and bettered themselves for the final training day.
“I think it was effective as in everyone’s got a pretty clear idea of where they stand, what they need to work on,” Baldenweck said.
The seniors are considered the officers that plan the event and oversee the juniors who conduct the mission. Once it finishes, the seniors complete action reports on the junior cadets, which state the successes of the mission and the needed improvements.
David Park, a senior political science major, said, “[The ROTC program] is very strenuous, but there is a sense of accomplishment that I could never get from anywhere else.”
Nathan Hill, a senior diplomacy and international relations major,” he said. “Realistically, all the ROTC programs are the same with exception of the people, and we have really good people here.”
Sarah Yenesel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.