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ROTC summer field training shapes tomorrow’s Air Force officer corps
Cadet Joseph Correia, a combatives instructor from Kansas State University, ensures the utilization of proper technique during combative training. Combative training is part of the summer Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps’ 28-day field training program at Maxwell. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Stoltz)
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ROTC summer field training shapes tomorrow's Air Force officer corps

Posted 6/25/2010   Updated 6/25/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Stoltz
Air University Public Affairs

6/25/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Air University is hosting a series of 28-day summer field training courses for about 2,400 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps students here through Aug. 28.

"Summer ROTC training is rigorous training for the students and will mentally and physically prepare them for the challenges they will face as potential Air Force officers," said Capt. Anthony Lamagna, Headquarters AFROTC, Holm Center. "The field training provides a better understanding of the Air Force and gives them the tools they need to become successful leaders of their respective detachments. We also stress the importance of the wingman concept while they are here."

ROTC students in transition from their sophomore to junior year of college from more than 140 detachments across the country participate in the program.

Captain Lamagna said, "We make sure every day is a challenge for them."

The day begins with revile at 4:00 a.m. and concludes with taps at 9:00 p.m. During their 17-hour day, cadets undergo room inspections and lessons on the Airman's Manual, the M16A2 nomenclature and Air Force history. They must also pass physical fitness testing and participate in the obstacle course at Blue Thunder.

During combative skills training, cadets learn hand-to-hand fighting techniques, teaching them how to properly apply and escape submission moves and defend themselves in a close-combat situation.

At the midpoint of training, the cadets have an opportunity to sharpen their skills during a 14-day mock deployment. Cadets are airlifted to Army National Guard's Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Hattiesburg, Miss. There they live in temper tents and experience the extreme conditions a deployment could offer.

The cadets must also man defensive fighting positions and patrol the area to keep their base safe. The wingman concept stressed throughout the training is put to the test when the cadets must defend the base against assaults from insurgents and improvised explosive devices.

"This type of training allows cadets from different detachments to meet and learn how to function as a unit," said Cadet Jessica L. Miller, a graduate from the 2009 training. "Having cadets from different detachments in the same unit also presents difficulties.

"When you have a large number of cadets in one unit, there are bound to be clashing personalities," Cadet Miller said. "Everyone wants to be a leader and take charge, no one wants to take orders. But the longer we were there, we learned to listen to each other's advice and become better followers, which helped build the cohesive bond our unit needed to succeed."

The 28 days of training culminates with a parade ceremony, showcasing the drill skills the cadets have honed during training.

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