UMass ROTC cadets experience full-time military life in training exercise

By Andy Castillo

(Andy Castillo/Daily Collegian)


Cadets from the University of Massachusetts Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Minuteman Battalion left at 11 a.m. on Thursday for a training exercise at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont, held in collaboration with the University of Vermont, the University of Connecticut, Westfield State, Western New England University and other schools.

“It’s a culmination of everything we’ve worked up towards this past year,” said MS4 cadet Alex Lindsay, who is a senior studying journalism, and the program’s media relations officer.

As a part of the training, called “Operation Mansfield Freedom,” the 52 cadets stayed in barracks and got a taste of full-time military life.

According to the official news release, “The training (provided) the Cadets with hands on experience in situational leadership exercises.”

ROTC members are required to maintain a rigorous physical fitness schedule and to train weekly on skills such as land navigation and troop movement.

Lindsay, who is also an enlisted infantryman with the Massachusetts Army National Guard, said the training held this weekend simulated a real-world deployment.

“We want to build (camaraderie) with other schools,” he said. “With events like this, they’re huge training exercises.

The weekend training consisted of patrol and combat simulations and scenarios that pitted upperclassmen against younger students.

“Seniors will play the enemy against juniors and lower classes,” Lindsay said. “Everything will be graded.”

Students also go to a leadership training camp in Fort Knox their junior year. This training is designed to prepare students and show them areas in which they can improve.

A Blackhawk helicopter was supposed to take a group of the ROTC members to the training, but had to cancel at the last minute because of foggy weather conditions.

According to the Army’s official website, ROTC is offered at over 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States. The program is designed to prepare college students for a career as a military officer.

Andrew Castillo can be reached at [email protected][liveblog]