Advertisement

Archive for Sunday, October 30, 2011

Air Force ROTC students get ‘realistic’ glimpse of deployment in exercise

October 30, 2011

Advertisement

ROTC student Ryan Tabares, a junior from Emporia, confronts other students during an Air Force ROTC Field Leadership Exercise on Saturday on Kansas University’s West Campus. The students made a mock prison and searched a “village.” They perform the exercise once per semester. The goal is to be authentic and to show the newest cadets the realities of the program.

ROTC student Ryan Tabares, a junior from Emporia, confronts other students during an Air Force ROTC Field Leadership Exercise on Saturday on Kansas University’s West Campus. The students made a mock prison and searched a “village.” They perform the exercise once per semester. The goal is to be authentic and to show the newest cadets the realities of the program.

Field Leadership Exercise

KU Air Force ROTC student took to West Campus to refine their skills they've learned as they set up some scenarios ranging from a downed pilot to extracting POWs from prison and dealing with locals in a combat zone. Enlarge video

A masked, armed man sneaks between parked cars, edging closer and closer to the unit’s base. A civilian, not quite sure what is going on either, speaks loudly and aggressively in broken Arabic. Another bounces a basketball, his movements jerky and erratic as he, too, gets closer to the precious base.

“Contact forward! Contact right!” soldiers in street clothes, barely out of the their first few semesters, yell as they pull up and aim rifles. It’s the code that they’ve seen someone — you can never be sure if “someone” is friendly or not. It’s a warning that a stranger is approaching.

It’s all simulation, of course. And not even a greatly sophisticated simulation at that — the “base” is a parking lot, the civilians are older cadets — but it gets the about 40 Air Force ROTC members who participated on Saturday thinking.

Cadet Nick Brunkhorst organized much of the event, which simulated interaction with hostile and noncombative “locals,” an ambush of one group and the rescue of a downed pilot in enemy territory.

“We’re trying to see how they’ll react under pressure,” Brunkhorst said. “So we try to make it as realistic as possible.”

The Air Force ROTC students perform the exercise once per semester. The goal is to be authentic and to show the newest cadets the realities of the program.

“Airmen aren’t just in the air anymore,” Brunkhorst said.

Cadet Tyler Underwood, who also helped lead the exercise, said after the event that most did extremely well, especially given their knowledge and skill base. No one but the cadets playing the combatants knew the entire scenario beforehand.

“It was definitely a learning experience,” Underwood said.

Reporter Alex Garrison can be reached at 832-7261. Follow her at Twitter.com/ alex_garrison.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.