Winter Field Training Exercise Challenges Fighting Eagles Cadets on Squad Based Operations

By: Cadet Marcos Sanchez

On March 5th through the 7th, Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) “Fighting Eagles” battalion conducted their second Field Training Exercise (FTX) of the 2019-2020 school year.  The purpose of this FTX was to test the Cadets knowledge of squad and fire team operations in order to prepare them for Cadet Summer Training or CST. The training started on March 5th with the conduction of the FTX prep lab. This lab was used to jump start Cadets’ minds into thinking tactically for the upcoming challenges. This was done by having each squad conduct pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections (PCCs and PCIs), as well as solidifying Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and lastly taking a quiz on basic individual and squad information.

EWU Army ROTC Cadet, Rebekah Hardin takes a test prior to deploying to the field for the annual Winter FTX.

On March 6th Cadets arrived at Cadet Hall on EWU campus around 1400 in order to get any last-minute packing or planning done.  They had an hour to complete all these task before the buses came and brought them to training site Water Works where they conducted the day and night land navigation courses.

Cadet Kaitlynn Taylor prepares her gear before deploying to the Cheney Waterworks Training Area.

The third and last day of the Field Training exercise was the longest day of them all with the Cadets’ day starting at 0400.  After accountability and pre-combat checks, the Cadets were issued their M4 rifles and M249 machines plus blank ammunition for the FTX. Using real rifles with blank ammunition adds greatly to the realism of the training event.

Nelson Hergert
Cadet Nelson Herget mans his fighting position with his M249 machine gun during the Winter FTX.

the Cadets assembled at the Cheney Waterworks Training Area for squad training lanes.  At last year’s Winter FTX the Cadets trained in challenging wintry conditions with deep snow covering the training site.  This year the weather would be different, but still have challenging conditions with a persistent cold rain for nearly the entire day.

Pictures from the EWU Army ROTC Winter FTX
Cadet Caleb Geringer conducts squad operations during the Winter FTX.

Valentino Olmstead
Cadet Valentino Olmstead is deep in thought as he endures the rain.

There were five lanes that the MS-III Cadets were tested on; the first was movement to contact, which the squad leader was informed that enemies were in the vicinity of a certain area. It was their job to plan a patrol in which they would take contact with the enemy and neutralize them using a pre-established battle drill. The second lane was a squad area defense. This helped the Cadets properly set a defensive position and learn how to utilize terrain to their advantage while being attacked by an enemy.

Casey Bowen
Cadet Casey Bowen conducts squad operations during the Winter FTX.

The third lane was a squad attack, which is similar to the movement to contact lane, but the precise enemy location is known, and it is the squad’s goal to initiate contact first. The fourth lane was squad ambush. In this scenario the enemy was known to have high foot traffic through a certain area, the Cadets were to cut them off by a certain time in order to minimize the enemy’s presence. The last lane was squad recon. Cadets were told that an unknown number of enemies were holding a position. The squad leader was then told to gather information on the enemy in order to solidify their numbers and possible intent. They did this by sending out recon and surveillance teams as well as security and observation. The recon and surveillance team’s job was to get eyes on the enemy from multiple vantage positions in order to gather intelligence; all while not being seen.

Cadet Cesar Guzman was one of the Opposing Force (OPFOR) members that the squads had to engage during the Winter FTX.

Cadets Sarah Mullen and Jazmin Castrejon were members of the OPFOR team during the Winter FTX.

With freezing cold temperatures and constant missions, the EWU ROTC Cadets where tested both physically and mentally during the Winter FTX. This training is used to prepare our MS-III Cadets for Advance Camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky this summer. Advanced Camp is a requirement for all MS-III Cadets to pass in order to commission as Army officers. The 37-day Advanced Camp is why the Fighting Eagles battalion conducts challenging training to prepare the MS-III Cadets as much as possible to excel at camp.

Corina Lindsey
Cadet Corina Lindsey flashes a smile during the Winter FTX.

Next quarter the Fighting Eagles Cadets will focus more on much larger platoon operations to further prepare our Fighting Eagles Cadets to excel at Advanced Camp.  EWU Army ROTC has a great track record of Cadets receiving high scores at Advanced Camp, which is made possible by the hard work and training achieved during weekly leadership labs and quarterly FTX’s.  The upcoming Spring Quarter will bring on new training challenges for the Fighting Eagles Cadets.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags! 

Note:  You can see and download many more pictures from the Winter FTX from our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.

Final picture of all the trainees at the Cheney Waterworks prior to redeployment back to Cadet Hall.

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.

Fighting Eagles Cadets on the Defensive During Weekly Leadership Lab

knight and camacho

By: Cadet Marcos Sanchez

On the 27th of February 2020, Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) Cadets once again traveled out to training site “Waterworks” to conduct the eighth lab of the Winter quarter. The purpose of this lab was to have the MS3, Junior grade, Cadets demonstrate their ability to conduct area and perimeter defense to standard. Not only will this help them excel at the upcoming Winter Field Training Exercise (FTX) but it will also help them at Advanced Camp this upcoming summer at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

EWU Army ROTC Cadets prepare to conduct Leadership Lab and the Cheney Waterworks training area.

In order to maximize the efficiency of the allotted time for training, Cadet Christian Goldbach, the officer in charge, had the MS3 Cadets also conduct missions with Recon and Surveillance (R&S) and Listening Post Observation Post (LPOP) teams. These are two tactics that will be used often at camp and practicing them will help them tremendously. The purpose of the R&S teams is to identify any threats in an area of interest and report the information back to the main element. The LPOP is similar to the R&S team but serves as a patrol bases early warning system. They stay out a good distance from the main element and report if any incoming threats are approaching all while remaining undetected.

Cadets in action
Cadets Jenna Knight and Gervacio Camacho overlook a potential enemy.

Throughout the training exercise Cadets were hit with indirect fire which forced them to call out a direction and distance in order to move their squad to a safe distance. This was only done if they were not meeting time restraints, but also helps with using their mental agility. This is a strategy that many Cadre use at camp in order to maintain timelines and disciplines such as noise and visibility. This all helps to give the MS3 class Cadets the most realistic training possible to prepare them for future upcoming field training exercises.

Third year Cadet, Valentino Olmstead directs his troops.

Note: You can view more images from the lab on our EWU ROTC Flickr page.

Fighting Eagles Battalion Holds Contracting Ceremony for Army ROTC Nursing Scholarship Winner

olivia roble

This week the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Army ROTC battalion conducted a contracting ceremony for Cadet (CDT) Olivia Roble.  CDT Roble is a second year Cadet at EWU who is originally from Auburn, Washington. In high school CDT Roble applied for an Army ROTC National Scholarship to help her achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. CDT Roble was selected for a National Scholarship that will pay for four of the five years required for a nursing degree.  After finishing her first year at EWU, she became eligible this year to contract into the U.S. Army and activate her scholarship benefits.

Contracting Ceremony
EWU Army ROTC Cadet Olivia Roble, (right) prepares to take the Oath of Enlistment administered by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Stafford (left).

During the ceremony Cadet Roble was given the Oath of Enlistment by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Stafford, the Professor of Military Science for the EWU Army ROTC program.

Olivia Roble
EWU Army ROTC Cadet, Olivia Roble takes the Oath of Enlistment.

The contracting ceremony was a special moment for CDT Roble since her dad, a retired Coast Guard veteran was on hand for the event.  After taking the Oath of Enlistment, her father placed the EWU patch on her right shoulder sleeve signifying her as being a contracted Cadet.

contracting ceremony hug
EWU Army ROTC Cadet, Olivia Roble receives a hug from her father after contracting into the U.S. Army to become a nurse.

Contracting into Army ROTC activated CDT Roble’s scholarship benefits which include:

  • Full tuition and mandatory fees (or $10,000 annually for room & board)
  • $1,200 annually for books and supplies
  • A monthly stipend of $420
  • Ability to apply for Army sponsored internships
  • Opportunity to attend advanced military training
EWU Army ROTC Cadet, Oliva Roble (center) is contracted for contracting into the Army by fellow Cadets, Cierra Neumann (left) and Isabell Pannell (right).

Cadet Roble is part of the largest Army ROTC nursing program in Washington State and the Inland Northwest. If you want to become a future Army nurse like Cadet Roble, EWU ROTC can help get you there.  We have scholarships available to qualified applicants.  You can read more about how to become an Army nurse by clicking the below tab or contacting the Army ROTC office at .

Army Nursing

Go Army Nursing!  Go Fighting Eags!

Leadership Lab Trains Fighting Eagles Cadets on Ambush, Recon & Break Contact Drills

By: Cadet Marcos Sanchez

On the 21st of February 2020, Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) Cadets traveled to training site “Waterworks” to conduct the seventh lab of the Winter quarter. The purpose of this lab was to have the Cadets demonstrate their ability to execute Ambush, Recon and Break Contact to standard in order to prepare them for the upcoming winter Field Training Exercise (FTX).

EWU Army ROTC Cadets patrol through the wooded terrain of the Waterworks property adjacent to the city of Cheney.

Cadet Chad Triplett was the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the lab and he went about executing this by splitting the two platoons into two separate Area of Operations (AO), which had four objectives in each. At each objective there was a different task that needed to be complete; the Ambush, Recon, Break Contact and Setting up an Objective Rally Point or ORP. The MSIII Cadets were then graded on their ability to do these to standard based on the Ranger Handbook.

EWU Army ROTC Cadet, Thomas Luce participates in Leadership Lab training.

The MSIII Class, which is comprised of Junior level students, will be attending the Cadet Summer Training (CST) within the next 6-7 months so it is crucial that they get the most realistic training as possible. In order to accomplish this, OIC Triplett had them perform land navigation from one objective point to the next. This is something that will be done at CST so building confidence now helps them tremendously. Another, method which was used was to have the Cadets set up a proper ORP and conduct a leader’s recon. Two things that will be tested repeatedly at Advanced Camp during CST.

MS-III Cadet, Emma LaTour prepares a brief for her squad during Leadership Lab training.

This lab was also conducted at the Waterworks which is where the Winter FTX will take place. As the MSII’s and MSIII’s have been in this area in years pasts, this helps the MSI class become more familiar with the area because they have only seen this AO a handful of times. Cadets will continue to work in this AO for the remainder of the quarter in order to get used to wooded terrain similar to what they will experience during CST at Ft. Knox, Kentucky this summer.

Note: You can see more pictures from the training below and at this link

Eagle Strong!  Go Fighting Eags!