Some Cameron University ROTC cadets are sitting in the driver's seat of Army leadership for the first time this weekend while others are honing their skills in preparation for the Leadership Development Assessment Course (LDAC) that could decide their future careers.
CU's fall field training exercise began Friday on Fort Sill with a short foot march and a day land navigation exercise followed by outdoor classes on individual and squad movements, operations orders and field craft. That's to prepare them, not only for the rest of the weekend but the semester as well.
On Saturday cadets went through a half-dozen obstacles at the Future Leader Reaction Course to practice leadership and teambuilding, followed by the Combat Confidence Course and a night land navigation exercise. A situational training exercise will conclude the event today, according to Lt. Col. David Zaccheus, chairman of Cameron's military science department.
"The great thing about this is it's about 54 hours of continuous contact with a cadet or a student. That's awesome, because that's more than I get in a semester," Zaccheus said.
It also gives cadets an opportunity to be immersed in what Army life is all about. It's a great learning environment, because they are stressed both mentally and physically, he noted.
Twenty-four seniors who have been through LDAC are testing and evaluating 21 juniors who will go to Joint Base Lewis-McChord next summer for the 30-day training exercise, Zaccheus said. The seniors try to make the training resemble what the juniors will face up there.
Cameron has one of the top-ranked ROTC programs in the nation and continues to maintain one of the highest commissioning rates in 5th Brigade, he said. Its cadets do very well at LDAC. Last year 10 of the 24 CU cadets who went received an "E" for "exceeds the standards," giving them a 37 percent success rate as compared with 25 percent on the national level.