ROTC Cadets Are Gradually Resuming Some In-Person Training
Speaker 1: 00:00 Like many college classes, the Army's reserve officers' training Corps or ROTC has largely moved online because of the pandemic, the program trains most newly commissioned army officers. Still some cadets are getting some limited in person training from Boston, Fred Tice reports for the American Homefront project Speaker 2: 00:26 In a clearing at camp Edwards on Cape Cod. A group of army cadets comes over a Hill to take a position being held by another group they're shooting blanks. But otherwise this is as real on the ground training as the cadets have had since the pandemic began, the cadets all college seniors come from ROTC programs in Massachusetts and Maine. They're from public universities and private ones, such as Harvard university cadet, Isabella van that attend Wellesley college, where seniors are learning remotely this semester. Speaker 3: 00:59 It's such a relief to definitely be in person to be out here, even though we're CA we're carrying really heavy rocks and everything just being in person with everyone makes a huge difference in the learning really skyrockets. When we have these difficult experiences, new challenges that can be thrown at us, um, in the in person setting. So having a semester remote, I definitely appreciate getting this learning opportunity out here. Speaker 2: 01:25 Three ROTC platoons performed these exercises in late August. Each platoon had fewer than 30 cadets and they were not allowed to work or socialize outside that group. A far cry from normal training when hundreds of cadets would eat, train and shower together in a typical summer 10,000 ROTC cadets would have been at Fort Knox, Kentucky this year, the army plant 68 smaller trainings around the country until the end of October, the cadets at camp Edwards do not wear masks. They train 12 hours a day after which they're screened for symptoms of COVID-19 major general. John Evans, commander of cadet command explains that the army is not able to test cadets on a daily basis everywhere. So we are relying on the CDC guidance for how the screening should occur. Someone that doesn't feel well. Someone who's been in positive contact with someone who has COVID those types of things, we'll exclude those individuals. Speaker 2: 02:23 And then in other places, we have the ability to test some, uh, and we will use those tests sparingly so that if we have someone who screens positive, we can give them a test and then find out whether or not they are truly positive or whether they can continue a training. So we're really trying to use everything at our disposal to be able to do that back at the command center on Cape Cod fans were roaring Lieutenant Colonel David stalker, professor of military science at the Massachusetts Institute of technology says the lack of hands on training since March has had an impact. What I do see Speaker 4: 03:00 Out there is they're just flowing because maybe they have not moved as a team or a squad. And definitely not like a platoon, just because we lost some of those spring exercises that we would have done in March, April and may Speaker 2: 03:15 With stalker is encouraged by the fact that the lack of in person training has not heard cadets ability to develop other skills, Speaker 4: 03:23 Not see that with marksmanship, but we conducted some preliminary marksmanship instructed to prep them to go out to the right range. And we did that hurts Speaker 2: 03:34 Despite the slow ramp up in moving together as a platoon, stalker is confident that the cadets will be ready for the army. By the time they graduate this spring in Boston, I'm Fred Tice. This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting.