Students crawled through the sand pits of DeBot Field, threw mock grenades and covered each other from enemy fire as they practiced individual movement techniques in a lab entirely planned by two Reserve Officers’ Training Corps students.
The lab was offered on Oct. 9 to students who are enrolled in military science and physical education classes. They were divided into six stations. Each had a leader who taught different military training techniques. They rotated stations every 10 minutes.
“The benefit to lab is it puts a visual to what they learn in class,” said Jesse Stansell, a ROTC public affairs officer.
ROTC Special Project Officer Jaclyn Johnson explained one of the techniques called a buddy rush. 10 duffel bags were staggered along the field and represented covers like cars, rocks or bushes that would be found in a real battlefield.
Johnson and ROTC Training Officer Rachel Stoltzmann planned the entire lab in two weeks, and they were happy with how smoothly it went.
“The motivation was high in all of the groups,” Johnson said.
Johnson was pleased they allotted enough time at each station so people who were not in ROTC could understand the actions. Johnson and Stoltzmann conducted two rehearsals, one in class and one live rehearsal, to iron out small details.
Johnson said she walked her class through a PowerPoint she created of how the lab was going to be structured. They delegated who would be at each station and showed them where they would be situated. Then they were ready to test the live rehearsal.
During the live rehearsal, Johnson and Stoltzmann noticed several elements to be changed.
“I had to figure out how to organize everyone,” Johnson said. “We rehearsed with more people than were going to be at the actual lab, so we figured out a lot from trial and error.”
An example of tweaking was how Stoltzmann noticed the high crawl, a drill where people ran in a sand pit and avoided touching a rope, had too much time left over. The two fixed this by requiring participants to go to the end then back to add to the time.
Even though Johnson and Stoltzmann were making a lot of the decisions, Stoltzmann said their cadre gave them suggestions and sometimes it was hard to implement all the edits they were offering.
After their fine-tuning, the officers at the stations took the changes to increase students’ confidence.
Stansell said when students learn the maneuvers it gives them a confidence boost.
“They prove that they can do it,” Stansell said.
Stansell said during the labs people get to experience training exercises members of ROTC go through. This is an advantage for people who want to join ROTC like sophomore Matt Esser.
Esser said he has always been interested in the military and is currently in the process of contracting into the ROTC.
“I took the 101 ‘feeler’ course and really liked it,” Esser said.
Esser explained motivation plays a huge part in ROTC, and the individual movement technique lab enhanced that motivation. “It was very informative,” Esser said. “The officers increased your motivation by making it a competition, which made it fun.”
The lab let students experience what military training is like. Even though it requires a lot of physical movements and attention to details, it proves they can preform all of the tasks set before them.