ROTC trains cadets for army life

By Stephan L. Lopes

“While at Northern, I found a way to accomplish what I really wanted—to become an officer.”

Although the weather fell below freezing, cadet Lt. Col. Mike Weis mustered more than enough enthusiasm for this semester’s Field Training Exercise.

Each semester, NIU’s ROTC program goes on an FTX to apply what is taught in the classroom. The FTX atmosphere is one of learning. The cadets are not actually graded on their performances, but they are closely scrutinized to identify their potential leadership ability.

The FTX was held at the Savanna Army Depot, Savanna Il. Some portions of the field training were done in nearby Palisades State Park.

While out in the field, cadets get the “flavor of the field” by eating Meals Ready to Eat. The freeze-dried MREs require water and resemble most main course items. MREs are loaded with carbohydrates, fats and sugars. Popular and personal beliefs say that they also tend to constipate you.

The field training is done in sections. Cadets learn first aid, scouting and a host of other battle-related skills. The most fun part of the FTX, for many, is escape and evasion.

During E&E, cadets go out during the night and attempt to reach a designated safe area while remaining undetected. Cadets must be well camouflaged and be cunning, to succeed.

The R0TC’s mission is to “train the future officers of the United States Army,” said Military Science Instructor Capt. Keith Wettig.