The UNC Army ROTC will be trading quad-sitting in front of Wilson Library for early mornings and late nights roughing it in the woods and getting real tactical and field experience at Fort Bragg in April.
The Army ROTC’s Combined Field Training Exercise will take place from April 5 to 7, and it is a joint effort coordinated by senior cadets from five different schools’ ROTC programs: UNC, Duke University, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University and Saint Augustine’s University.
Jake DiMartinis, a senior at UNC and the Army ROTC battalion commander, will be an evaluator at the exercise. He said its purpose is to prepare juniors especially for Advance Camp, a roughly month-long training in Fort Knox, Kentucky, between the cadets’ junior and senior year.
“When you’re at Fort Knox, you’re going to be with cadets from colleges across the country,” DiMartinis said. “You’re gonna be with people you don’t know, and you’re going to have to lead people you don’t know, and be under people you don’t know and work alongside people you don't know.”
Lt. Col. Daniel Snow, chairperson and professor of the Department of Military Science, said he looks forward to seeing UNC’s Army ROTC program go above and beyond in the exercise.
“I am fully confident the Tar Heel Cadets will perform exceptionally well, and I expect their actions will inspire and influence others to achieve more,” Snow said in a statement to the Daily Tar Heel. “I am very proud of these truly remarkable students, and this exercise will once again demonstrate the profound character, competence and commitment that sets them apart.”
Lt. Col. Anthony Forshier, a professor of military science at UNC, said the cadets will be focusing on using platoon equipment in the field and doing exercises in combat, ambush, raid and reconnaissance. Juniors will be separated from first-years and sophomores on the second day, and they will receive training on rifle marksmanship, a skill that they will be tested on at Advance Camp. First-years and sophomores will be put in charge of platoons where they will plan and execute operations, Forshier said.
There are 62 members of UNC’s Army ROTC, Forshier said, and there are about 40 members in a platoon, so this experience will challenge cadets to navigate cooperating with a large number of people.
“It’s going to be fun; safety (is) number one,” Forshier said. “...We’re doing our best to ensure that the students that do go are being communicative with the University, so they know 'Hey, these folks are going to be gone. They’re not just slacking off for the weekend.'”