Day #1 of EWU Army ROTC Winter Field Training Exercise Tests Cadets on Land Navigation

Over the weekend the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) “Fighting Eagles” battalion conducted its annual Winter Field Training Exercise (FTX).  The first day of the exercise featured the Cadets gathering at Cadet Hall to conduct inspections of their equipment before deploying to the Cheney Waterworks Training Area via bus.

EWU Army ROTC Cadets stand in formation outside of Cadet Hall.

EWU Army ROTC Cadets march to the buses parked outside of Cadet Hall.

EWU Army ROTC Cadet, Kyle Collins steps off the bus at the Cheney Waterworks Training Area.

Once at the Cheney Waterworks Training Area, the Cadets immediately began their first training event of the Winter FTX, a daytime land navigation assessment.  Cadets were given four grid locations that they then had to plot on their maps and then use their compasses and pace counts to navigate to.  The land navigation course was meant to be significantly more difficult than past lessons by having points significantly farther apart from one another so Cadets were forced to put more thought into planning a route.  To pass the daytime land navigation assessment the Cadets had to find at least 3 of the 4 points they were given.

Cadet First Sergeant Hunter Smith holds formation at the Cheney Waterworks Training Area.

Cadet William Chamberlin plots his point during the daytime land navigation assessment.

Cadet Cierra Neumann finds a land navigation point.

The course challenged the Cadets’ land navigation fundamentals that they have learned throughout the academic year at leadership labs.  After eating a dinner consisting of Army Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) the Cadets waited until dark to begin the night land navigation assessment which would prove to be even harder.  For this assessment each Cadet was given 3 points to plot on their map and navigate to in the darkness.  Each Cadet had to successfully find 2 of the 3 points to pass the test.

Cadet Christopher Millward plots grid points on his map using a red head lamp.

Cadet Taylor Stitch reports into the tactical operations center to have his night land navigation assessment graded.

Mastering land navigation is an important skill for Cadets to learn because most of the Cadets will attend Advanced Camp during the summer between their Junior and Senior years in college. At Advanced Camp being able to successfully pass the land navigation course at Ft. Knox, Kentucky is required for all Cadets. The land navigation training offered by the EWU Army ROTC program ensures that Cadets are ready to succeed at Advanced Camp.  Our Cadets will conduct another land navigation assessment during the Spring FTX at Camp Seven Mile at Riverside State Park in May.  There the course will be even more expansive and feature a number of large hills to truly challenge the Cadets’ land navigation skills prior to attending summer training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!

Note: More pictures from the 2020 Winter FTX can be seen at our Flickr page link.

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