Temple University’s Red Diamond Battalion geared up to depart for their fall training exercise.
The FTX, as it is commonly known, is held each semester at Joint Base Mcguire Dix Lakehurst near Pemberton, New Jersey. This event was planned and executed by the senior ROTC class, the MSIVs.
Training for the cadets began on Friday night where freshman and sophomore cadets learned how to set up patrol bases in the woods, as well as how to call in artillery during a mission.
Later that night, the cadets slept outside in the cold, under the stars. I can personally attest to the fact that there aren’t any tents in the field, I was out there shivering with the rest of them.
Once the sun rose, cadets were able to warm themselves up on Saturday morning with a day full of STX lanes to complete. STX, or Situational Tactical Exercises, test the senior cadets’ ability to apply the tactics they have been taught and exercise their leadership abilities under stressful conditions. During the lanes, they have to complete mock missions. They must show that they understand the orders process and are capable of executing basic tasks such as land navigation and battle drills.
Normally, the FTX is where the cadets can get some hands on weapons experience by firing blanks. Unfortunately, the supply was dry this year. Still, cadets were still required to show that they were engaging the enemy and that would be the reason for the bang banging away heard in the video.
With only minor hiccups, the exercise itself was a success. Cadet Christopher Miller, the battalion S3, reflected on the event and the intent he had for it, ” Myself and CDT Mundt, like we really honed in on preparing the MS3s for advanced camp. And I really feel like this was one good leadership rep that they got and they’ll have more like more leadership reps when we go into spring with our with our with our next battalion FTX and then with the joint FTX with all the Philadelphia schools.”
CDT.Cory Mundt, the Assistant S3 who oversaw the execution of the FTX observed a positive result for the training. “One of the biggest things that I was proud of that I saw was, was the MS3s that got to be squad
leader for the defense lane. Because we had just ran a defense class a couple days before FTX, and it was their really their first time seeing all that so it was really good to see them,
they picked up on it quickly and did well.”
The field training exercise at Ft. Dix is an important part of the ROTC curriculum. This is especially true for schools, like Temple, who don’t have the open spaces and training areas that schools like Penn State and Valley Forge Military Academy have access to. It takes a great effort to organize and carry out an event like this, and even more effort to have it run effectively.