Idaho State’s very own Army ROTC program, or Bengal Detachment, has invested a massive amount of sweat equity in building future military Officers. The fruits of those labors started to shine through this past summer as many of our Cadets went to specialized trainings ranging from helicopter sling loads, rappelling, parachuting, practical nursing experience, leadership, and working on the Army’s sensor development. Millions of dollars go into preparing Cadets to assume the role of effective leaders in the Army, and our Cadets were able to capitalize on that this summer in massive ways.
CDT Corbin Heard, an explosive ordnance disposal Staff Sergeant and pre-law political science major, is part of our program through the Army’s Green to Gold Program allowing Non-Commissioned Officers to go to earn a college degree and return to the service as a Commissioned Officer. He started out the summer by attending Air Assault school at Ft. Hood, TX, which included a grueling 12-mile ruck march with a 70-lb. pack. Pulling from the Air Assault School website, it “is a 10-day course designed to prepare Soldiers for insertion, evacuation, and pathfinder missions that call for the use of multipurpose transportation and assault helicopters. Air assault training focuses on the mastery of rappelling techniques and sling load procedures.” There, he graduated with 82 peers ,started with 225, his Air Assault badge, and reported almost immediately to the 1st Regiment of Cadet Command’s Advance Camp
Advance Camp is the final grading period for a third-year Cadet’s evaluation towards what component and branch within the Army he/she will be slotted for. To say that he was a success would be an understatement. While Cadet Command was still working out some of the kinks of the Cadet Summer Training changes, CDT Heard graduated as number one in his Regiment of 623 Cadets. As one of five Cadets in his Regiment, he also earned the RECONDO ,RECONnaissance and commanDO, award based on physical fitness scores, marksmanship, ruck march time, etc. He also earned the First Command Warrior Spirit Award, which came with an honorary tomahawk.
CDT Adrianna Tucker, a sociology major, attended 4th Regiment of Advanced Camp, placing 16th in her PLT. After camp, she attended Cadet Troop Leader Training at Ft. Sill, OK in a Signal Battalion. While at Ft. Sill, she participated in High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle Egress Assistance Trainer, which simulate a vehicle rollover both on dry ground and in the water. Her biggest takeaway was learning her leadership style and how she wants to carry herself once she becomes an Officer.
CDT Jonathan Henderson, a mechanical engineering and German for business double-major, was also a part of 4th Regiment. Although in different Companies, he bumped into CDT Tucker every so often. He placed 7th in his PLT, and departed for his engineering internship at Ft. Belvoir, VA. There, he worked under the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate on two projects. The first was taking thermal images of weapons systems to build a database on what those systems look like through thermal optics ,to avoid fratricide or “friendly fire”. The second project involved processing large amounts of data for a form of non-contact human ID using biometrics, rather than facial recognition. He also ran his first half-marathon, the Freedom Fighters Half Marathon, in Quantico, VA. Additionally, he was raised just an hour west of Ft. Belvoir, so he was able to spend lots of time with friends and family.
CDT Spencer Johnston, a biology major, started this summer’s training by cutting his honeymoon short to attend the Army Airborne School, earning his wings at Ft. Benning, GA. It was three phases in three weeks. Week 1—Ground Week—entailed learning the proper parachute landing fall. The second phase is Tower Week, building on PLF with a jump from a 34-foot tall tower to simulate jumping out of an aircraft. The final phase is Jump Week where all the skills culminate in jumping from a high performance aircraft. CDT Johnston jumped five times: three from a C-17 and two from a C-130. Another memorable component to Airborne School is that you run 5 miles every morning and you also run anywhere you go. Afterwards, he was onto the 7th Regiment of Advance Camp at Ft. Knox, landing 13th in his PLT. Dealing with challenges in communication and the difficulties of command and control were at the forefront of the knowledge obtained.
CDT Robert Warren, a nursing major, received a unique CTLT slot at Ft. Polk, LA shadowing Alpha Company Commander, CPT Triche, rather than the traditional 2LT. As a nursing student, his experiences were particularly beneficial as he served at the 115 Combat Support Hospital. He met with many high-ranking officers to discuss the Cadets’ goals. CDT Warren shares that his biggest takeaway was “that the sustained readiness model is…going to be a huge hurdle when it comes to actually training to the 68 series,” meaning the enlisted Medical Corps. Other rewarding experiences included seeing New Orleans, riding in a Blackhawk, going on the Junior Officer staff ride to a Civil War battle sight, and giving a brief on the Battle of Trenton to his entire Company.
CDT Nathan Helm, a returning MSII, Guardsman, and political science major, was able to spend a few weeks this summer with the 1-148th Field Artillery Battalion conducting Military Intelligence Operations for the unit’s Annual Training. He is also now able to drive several military vehicles, having earned his military driver’s license. CDT Helm was also greatly beneficial to our program and to SGT Beasley in helping with some of our recruiting events this summer on ISU’s Quad.
CDT Kathryn Goff, one of our MSI Cadets last year majoring in mechanical engineering, decided to enlist into the National Guard as a UH-60 ,Blackhawk, Helicopter Repairer. A special opportunity came along for her and a few others in her Recruit Sustainment Program unit to fly in Fat Albert in the Blue Angels show this summer. She departed for Basic Training in early October, followed by one of the longest Advanced Individual Training the Army has to offer: helicopter mechanic. She will resume training with our program for the Fall 2018 semester. We wish her the best of luck!
As you can see, the efforts of our Army leaders—MAJ Geoffrey Klein, CPT Johanna Mosby, SFC Joshua Bures, and SGT Braxton Beasley—have led to large amounts of recognition for our program and valuable training experiences for our Cadets—America’s future Army Officers!
While some of that might seem intimidating, you too can participate. Contact either SFC Bures (208-282-3061; ude.usinull@hsojerub) or CPT Mosby (208-282-3754; ude.usinull@ahojbsom) to learn more about the Army ROTC program here at ISU. Both paths offer extensive training, financial scholarships, and will provide a long and impactful career serving your nation.