A Fort Sill lieutenant is using his experience as a Cameron University ROTC cadet to build a better relationship between the post and the university.

1st Lt. Christopher Laycock, a 2018 graduate of Cameron University, hopes to use his position as a platoon leader with Echo Battery, 179th Field Artillery Battalion, a basic training command, to not only build a better relationship between the ROTC program at Cameron but offer cadets a chance to experience the Army and artillery.

Four of Cameron’s cadets were incorporated into the trainee’s day at the Fort Sill obstacle course Tuesday. Laycock said he hopes to expand the program and keep it going even after he leaves Fort Sill.

“Something that we wanted to do today is kind of incorporate Cameron ROTC,” Laycock said. “Kind of build that relationship with them off post as well as give them the opportunity to get some additional training and some good valuable training. We’re hoping to build on that and eventually keep doing future training.”

Besides gaining the experience of being around active duty soldiers, the cadets also are competing for much coveted airborne and air assault training slots, said Maj. Jason Bost, professor of Military Studies at Cameron University.

The cadets will be required to complete each obstacle and then will be graded on grade point average, military knowledge and several other factors. One cadet will be chosen for each of the schools. Attending the schools doesn’t guarantee the cadets will earn either parachutist or assault wings. The cadets will face rigorous physical and mental challenges where a single failure could see them sent home without their wings.

“I chose air assault because I want the challenge,” said Cadet Joel Vann. “I like the detail-oriented tasks and that is going to be a challenge for me.”

Cadet Jaime Moises, on the other hand, said he plans on earning his airborne wings. He said completion of the obstacle course will help build his confidence to complete the school.

“Because once when I do the obstacle course, and I see myself doing it that, just really boosts up my confidence,” Moises said. “I’m not really a nervous wreck anymore.”

As far as the obstacle course, the first of many steps to the schools, the cadets agreed the Weaver obstacle was the toughest. The obstacle forces the person to contort and “weave” their body over a series of boards. The obstacle is in the shape of pyramid, with the distance between each board getting farther apart as the person goes up the obstacle on one side and down on the other.

“That one was the most fatiguing one because of the awkward body position you have to put your body in, and it’s just overall tough,” Moises said.

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