Huskie Battalion: Training prepares attendees for start, end of military careers

By Keith Hernandez

Prospective Army officers got a taste of their future careers while their leader neared the end of his own during a three-day training event this weekend.

This year’s fall Leadership Training Exercise was the first of its kind for senior Cadet Jesspal Bachhal and Lt. Col. David Dosier of the Huskie ROTC Battalion. The purpose of the training was to enhance critical thinking skills, as opposed to the past focus on tactical skills.

The exercise brought the battalion to Fort McCoy, Wis., where cadets ran an obstacle course, shot live rounds from M4 carbines, competed in navigation exercises and set up a patrol base.

Jesspal Bachhal

“The program shows you not only how to lead people when you’re given minimal information, but it also teaches you a lot about yourself in terms of who you are as a person, how you work with a team and when the stress levels hit, can you adapt,” said Bachhal, who is the Huskie Battalion commander until another senior cadet assumes the role in the spring.

Bachhal awaits eight years of active duty after graduating with a bachelor’s in physical therapy. He said he wants to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy while active to assist military personnel and their families.

“… I want to be in the forefront of providing that help in the future,” Bachhal said.

Bachhal and other senior cadets took part in a mock ambush on a patrol base set up by younger cadets. The attacking forces carried rubber AK-47 rifles, called rubber ducks by the cadets, while the defenders were armed with rubber M4 carbines.

The attack is a tradition cadets will be able to continue next year, Bachhal said.

David Dosier

While Bachhal looks ahead to a military career, Dosier, who became the NIU ROTC program’s professor in military science in 2011, is approaching the end of his.

Dosier awaits a civilian life after retirement in May from a 28-year military career that has taken him from Kosovo to Iraq.

“Being a soldier’s been my identity my whole adult life,” Dosier said. “I don’t know what that’s going to be like to not have that be a part of me anymore.”

Upon leaving the Army, Dosier said he plans to stay in the DeKalb area so he can remain close to family.

Until then, he said he will teach his cadets the value of preparation and how to treat others with respect, instilling in them a sense of purpose.

“We perform a function for the country that is critical,” Dosier said. “A lot of young people will do this for various reasons: money for college, [it] looked cool in the movies; that kind of thing. But, I try to be pretty real with them and talk about how important the job is.”