By MASTER SGT.
108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs
It all begins at Fort Knox for the cadre that trained more than 1,500 cadets. The Leader’s Training Course, which began in 1965, is an ROTC summer-designed program to develop future officers.
More than 1,500 cadets traveled to Fort Knox for the Leader’s Training Course, or LTC, which includes rappelling off of a 50-foot high tower, crossing a stream on rope bridges, a high rope obstacle course, combat water survival training and other military skills training such as land navigation. They learned a variety of operational and leadership approaches.
There were about 200 cadets per company. Each squad had a drill sergeant and a newly-commissioned lieutenant. Drill sergeants played a key role during the LTC by indoctrinating cadets to the Army.
Throughout the period known as the Soldier First phase, drill sergeants taught students everything from how to make their bunks, military customs and traditions and how to march.
“The cadre comes here prior to the cadets’ arrival to prepare and go through all the events to ensure they can meet the test (standards) before challenging the cadets,” said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Faulkner, Company C, 4-399th, 104th Division. “The land navigation course is one of many challenges.”
For four days cadets went through map reading, terrain walk and a basic map test. Land navigation covered a large area of ground with 10 zones, 48 points and two well-developed sand tables. The area is enclosed by white tape with orange tabs on it warning of unsafe areas, established water points and emergency call areas.
The Army Reserve, 95th and 104th Divisions, were a big part of the land navigation set-up. The course was developed from scratch, and designed for beginners. The Tactical Operations Center provides graphic control measures, maps, roving gators, five water points and 100 percent accountability.
“There is only one way on and one way off,” said Capt. Ron Brunner, with the 2-397th Bn., 95th Division. “The tape is to ensure no one wanders off and gets lost. We keep track of everyone on ground. They will be assigned a battle buddy and pass through the main tent placing their name tape on a board, ensuring everyone knows who is out on the trail.”
The cadre were validated before the cadets go through the training.
“The cadre are required to be familiar with the course and complete the same requirements as the cadets in order to train them,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Taft, a drill sergeant with 2-397th, 95th Division. “The cadre take written exams plotting points, pace count, terrain assessment, instructing cadets on compass use and finding the four out of five points. Tonight will also be night land navigation that will last until sometime after midnight.”
But these are not the only skills that the cadets took away from their 29 days of training. Along with leadership skills, cadets learned teamwork in the team building exercises such as the stream crossing training.
“One exercise, run by the active Army, is to build a raft, support two personnel on the raft by taking them out across the water and back to shore safely,” Taft explained.
“Another group takes a raft, as a team, runs around a course and into the water. While in the water, they flip the raft over and back and paddle safely back to shore.”
Also working as a team is the Army Reserve and active Army to ensure the cadets graduate successfully.
The Leader Training Course is led by the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s 1st Brigade, which encompasses 11 senior and junior military colleges across the country. For cadets not previously enrolled in ROTC during their freshman or sophomore years in college, LTC prepares college students for entry into the Senior Army ROTC program and helps prepare them to eventually commission into the Army.
This year’s LTC class graduated Aug. 11.