Gearing Up for Greatness

PROVO, Utah – Jul 01, 2019 – Juniors from the BYU Marriott ROTC program who are now attending Advanced Camp, a thirty-one-day training event held at Fort Knox, Kentucky, were given a practice during field training conducted in St. George, Utah. Cadets must complete Advanced Camp in order to receive a commission in the army.

While in St. George, cadets were separated into platoons. Each platoon was given a series of challenges to complete, including setting up a shelter, completing a raid, or executing an ambush on the opposing forces (played by senior cadets). “You quickly learn how to take a group of people you didn’t know yesterday and orchestrate their individual strengths into a cohesive unit,” says Scott Snow, a junior political science major from Farmington, Utah.

Snow says the most difficult part of the exercises was completing a mission in the evening while a storm was rolling in. “Organizing more than thirty people in the dark to find a site to sleep and stay dry, preparing a night security plan, and preparing for the mission was a challenge,” he says. “I learned a lot about delegation, communicating clearly, and trusting others. I was humbled to experience the gratitude of a leader who has been supported by amazing people.”

During the exercises, juniors are evaluated by their senior peers. “The experience is 40 percent tactics and 60 percent leadership,” says senior Ashton Winslow from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. “It becomes easy to see the true colors of someone’s leadership when you’re outdoors and there’s little food, little sleep, and stressful situations.”

Field training exercises are an opportunity for cadets from different universities to come together and experience working through high-stress situations with peers they’ve only recently met. This year, BYU cadets conducted the exercises with fellow ROTC cadets from Southern Utah University and Utah Valley University. “Being able to witness your peers engage with their weaknesses and try to improve motivates me to do better,” says Snow. “This experience forced me to look at myself with a more critical eye."

Advanced Camp preparation is vital because a cadet’s camp performance may determine the start of their military career. After completing the training at Fort Knox this summer, cadets are put in a ranking system that accounts for GPA, Advanced Camp training performance, and leadership roles. The cadets are then ranked against the thousands of other cadets in Army ROTC programs across the country. “The higher the cadets’ rank, the more chance they will have of placing in the branch of the military they want to be in,” says Winslow. “That’s why it was fantastic to see the junior platoon leaders make recognizable progress in their leadership skills over the course of only three days.”

The chance to practice tasks similar to those at Advanced Camp not only boosts the cadets’ level of preparedness for Advanced Camp but also gives them a chance to apply the training they had received prior. “Field training exercises taught me the only thing you can count on is the skills, attributes, attitude and mentality that you have already developed,” says Snow. “Applying that lesson to the fluctuating situations I will be thrown into is the secret to being successful in the Army and in life.”

Army ROTC cadets receive instructions during training.
Army ROTC cadets receive instructions during training.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Ellen Ford