Reserve Officer Training Corps work together to walk an allotted distance on two boards without touching the grass with their feet as part of a team-building challenge during a field training exercise in the Clemson Forest. Image credit: Ken Scar / Clemson University

Reserve Officer Training Corps work together to walk an allotted distance on two boards without touching the grass with their feet as part of a team-building challenge during a field training exercise in the Clemson Forest.
Image Credit: Ken Scar

CLEMSON — Young cadets in Clemson University’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps — the “Fightin’ Tiger Battalion” — will learn how to operate in darkness and hostile territory during a leadership development exercise this weekend at Clemson’s Fants Grove training area in Pendleton.

Cadets will train as if in a tactical environment. They will establish patrol bases in complete darkness Friday night and begin a series of challenges at daylight designed to expose them to the high-pressure environment of leading soldiers under time restraints and with limited resources.

Events include night land navigation, rappelling and several team-building exercises that will test the cadets’ ability to operate and lead under stress.

Cadets also will fire M4 assault rifles — the weapon of choice for today’s Army infantry units — at the Clemson Range Saturday morning. Drill sergeants from the Army Reserve’s 108th Training Command will be on hand to teach weapons handling and safety.

ROTC cadets form up at dawn in the Clemson Forest

Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets assemble at the crack of dawn before conducting teamwork challenges during a field training exercise in the Clemson Forest.
Image Credit: Ken Scar

The cadets will be immersed in the serious business of soldiering throughout the weekend, but some of the critical-thinking exercises are more lighthearted.

For instance, in one challenge a group of cadets will be given a single pair of boots and a 20-by-10-meter box made with engineering tape. The goal will be to transfer the entire group across the boxed-in area with no body part touching the ground except the feet in the two boots. Each foot on each person can only wear a boot safely for one trip across. After that foot is used, it cannot be used for any more trips.

The exercise is designed to prepare new cadets for what to expect in the coming years of the ROTC program and their Army careers. Freshman and sophomore cadets will be trained on critical-thinking skills and hone basic soldiering skills. Juniors will use the exercise to prepare for the Cadet Leadership Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky next summer.

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