From the Professor of Military Science

LTC Christian A. Thompson

Lt. Colonel Christian Thompson (PMS) 

Friends, families, alumni, and cadets, 2019 was a fast and furious year that zipped past us in no time at all. I am really proud of all the work we’ve done and I am especially proud of our cadets’ accomplishment over the past year. There are so many accolades listed below, but I want to start by highlighting a very special accomplishment. Cadet Mark Wallach was named the #8 cadet overall of nearly 6,000 cadets in his class from across the nation. This accomplishment is representative of his high GPA, fitness test scores, summer camp performance, and his overall strong leadership in the program. He also received the George C. Marshall Leadership award and is a rising star who I’m sure we’ll be reading about in the future. We also received some great news from the Michigan Tech front office. President Richard Koubek approved, retroactively to the beginning of the Fall 2019 semester, for any incoming out of state cadet who is awarded a 3-year scholarship to receive in-state tuition rates until their scholarship kicks in. He also approved for any non-scholarship contracted cadet from out of state to receive in-state rates beginning their junior year. One cadet has already benefited, saving him $6,000 in tuition and fees.
The Army ROTC program at Michigan Tech remains strong with 71 cadets enrolled at the end of the Fall 2019 Semester which also includes two cadets from Finlandia University. Since last year’s newsletter, 12 cadets completed summer camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Four cadets participated in CULP (Cultural & Leadership Program) to the following: Cadet Boehm (Guatemala), Cadet Krueger (Latvia), Cadet Miller, S. (Republic of Congo), and Cadet Mitchell (Peru). Cadets Catron, McGrath, and Stelmaszek participated in an internship with ACE (Army Cyber Education) and Cadets McKenzie and Norton completed an internship with USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers). Cadets Alger and Peitz participated in CTLT (Cadet Troop Leadership Training) with active duty units at Ft. Hood, TX and Ft. Irwin, CA respectively. Cadets Maxey and Coenen won Project GO scholarships and studied Arabic at North Carolina State University and Indiana University respectively. Cadets Biland and Blaedow graduated from Airborne School and Cadets Catron and Wallach graduated from Air Assault School. Lastly, for the first time in eight years, Cadet Grulke, L. graduated from the very tough Sapper Leader Course.
We started the Fall 2019 semester with the largest freshmen class (24) we’ve seen in several years due to seven campus walk-ons. We completed our Fall Field Training Exercise at Fort McCoy, WI and sent 17 cadets to compete in the Ranger Challenge competition. We resurrected an age-old tradition of running the game ball from Marquette, MI to Houghton for the MTU-NMU football game. The Northern Michigan ROTC cadets and cadre met us half way. The cadets raised over $10K from our annual fund raiser by hosting an inaugural 5K/10K race up Mont Ripley called the Husky Alpine Mountain Run. I’m also proud to say that we decisively beat the Air Force ROTC program in flag football and hockey.

I would be remised if I didn’t recognize Sergeant First Class Michael Esterline on his recent retirement after 20 years of service to the nation. He served as a Military Science Instructor having taught the freshmen cadets since January 2018 and the Fall 2019 semester was his last semester with MTU. We will hold his retirement ceremony in the Spring, a well-deserved recognition. We welcomed his replacement, Sergeant First Class Jesse Housby. SFC Housby and his wife, Paulina, joined us from Fort Polk, LA and they are a perfect fit to our ROTC cadre team. 

Lastly, I want to congratulate our newest Second Lieutenants since our last newsletter. Second Lieutenant Cameron Gregg of Houghton, MI (BS Finance, Cum Laude, Distinguished Military Graduate, Infantry Branch), Second Lieutenant Jacob Hendricks of Clarkston, MI (BS Construction Management, Aviation Branch), Second Lieutenant Justin Pavliscak of Lake Oreeon, MI (BS Civil Engineering, Aviation Branch), Second Lieutenant Anthony Lackey of Marquette, MI (BS Mechanical Engineering, Corps of Engineers Branch), Second Lieutenant Ethan Prehoda of Colchester, VT (BS Mechanical Engineering, Distinguished Military Graduate, Field Artillery Branch), Second Lieutenant Amber Strutz of Columbia, MD (BS Environmental Engineering, Chemical Branch), Second Lieutenant David Eychaner of Esmond, IL (BS Mechanical Engineering, Cum Laude, Distinguished Military Graduate, Corps of Engineers Branch), Second Lieutenant Lucas Grulke of Grafton, WI (BS Engineer Management, Magna Cum Laude, Distinguished Military Graduate and Top 10%, Infantry Branch), Second Lieutenant Ethan Knake of Coleman, MI (BS Civil Engineering, Field Artillery Branch), Second Lieutenant Natalie McGrath of Ham Lake, MN (BS Computer Engineering, Cum Laude, Chemical Branch), Second Lieutenant John Stough of South Africa (BS Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, Military Intelligence Branch), and Second Lieutenant Sean Wentworth of Roseville, MN (BS Mechanical Engineering, Cum Laude, Field Artillery Branch). 

Many thanks to you all for your support of our great program and our cadets. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for current updates and events. 

Arctic Warriors! 

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From the Senior Military Instructor

Master Sergeant Joshua Browning

Lt. Colonel Christian Thompson (PMS) 

From running the game ball 100 miles from Marquette to Houghton to competing in Ranger Challenge, 2019 has been an amazing year. The good news is, 2020 is guaranteed to be an even better year, as we already have so many events planned.
Working as the Senior Military Instructor has been one of the greatest privileges for me this year. Michigan Tech Cadets work hard, know what they want and won’t stop working until they get it. These Cadets are the type of leaders our Army needs, and I am privileged and honored to work with them every semester.
Yet again, Michigan Tech Cadets performed very well at Cadet Summer Training (CST, Formerly LDAC). We had two Cadets earn the coveted Recondo award, and 7 of our 11 Cadets earned an Excellent rating or higher. Following an outstanding individual performance at CST out of 6,000 Cadets in the U.S., we had the number 8 ranked Cadet in our program, 4th year Mechanical Engineering major, Mark Wallach.
This was the second year of the Husky Alpine Mountain Run fundraiser, a 5k/10k run that traverses up, down and around Mt. Ripley ski areal. This year we were able to add a 10K to the event as well as adding over 2k of scenic running through the historic Quincy mine property. Over 100 people participated this year and I look forward to what our Cadets will do with this event in 2020.
Our Fall FTX was another notable training event for the Cadets in 2019. They got muddy on a confidence course, climbed ropes, balanced on shaky bridges over creeks and conquered their fears at the Ft. McCoy obstacle course. They conducted day and night land navigation courses, shot M4’s at a 300 meter pop up target range, ate MRE’s for three days straight and slept in a patrol base while maintaining 33% security.
A great new development for our program is the approval of a new primary training area for ROTC Cadets. The property next to Tolkien Trails, on the far side of Tech Trails, is the current location for the MTU paintball course, and we have now been approved to use this area for our primary training during leadership labs. This allows the Cadets to have fun (paintball labs!), conduct realistic training and improve their communication, tactics and leadership skills. With this new training opportunity, our Cadets will be more ready than ever for CST and the tactical challenges of an Army career.
As for the Browning family, we have welcomed a new baby to the world, Claire Alysse Browning. Our three-year-old, Luke, has taken up cross country skiing, mountain biking, and hockey. He is truly a Yooper as he loves the cold and prefers to spend most of his time on the ice or outdoors. It’s often hard to get him to wear a coat, as he says, “I like my arms cold!” and our 15-year-old, Skyler, is a member of the Copper Country Ski Tigers (nordic ski team).
All in all, it is so amazing watching these Cadets grow into the leaders of tomorrow and I could not be more grateful to be a small part of their lives. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, ideas, or just want to talk about Michigan Tech.

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From the Cadet Battalion Commander

Cadet Cameron Gregg (MSIV)

Cadet Cameron Gregg (MSIV) 

This semester, Spring 2019, the Arctic Warrior Battalion hit the ground running with events and activities. Some of our activities have been traditions over many years while some are new to the program. We started off with building our snow statue for Michigan Tech annual festival, Winter Carnival and participated in special events, such as broomball, curling, and speed skating. Students from all organizations participate and put in about a month’s worth of work into building elaborate statues. We then hosted our Day of Challenges in which over 100 teams registered. Elementary through high school aged kids got to do various physical challenges, play laser tag, and use night vision goggles. 

April was the Battalion’s busiest month. The MSIV’s went on their Battle Staff Ride to Mankato, MN. The Battalion also had it spring FTX, in which cadets learned skills in leadership, patrols, and individual soldier tasks to prepare them for Cadet Summer Training. The newer events we added to our training calendar were the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency (GAFB) and Ranger Buddy Competition. Our program sent 20 cadets to Marquette University to compete and earn the GAFB award. During this event, cadets are tested on physical fitness, swimming capabilities, marksmanship, and their medical evaluation skills. To finish off the semester, 3 teams were sent to the University of Kansas for the annual 3rd Brigade Ranger Buddy Competition. Teams were expected to ruck 15km, complete a series of infantry tasks, and finish off with a 5km buddy run. This is the first time the Arctic Warrior Battalion participated in either GAFB or Ranger Buddy. 

This semester’s events were both long-lasting and new to the program. It great to introduce new events to add excitement to the training. We also appreciate our traditions we have with the community and university as part of the Michigan Tech community. This summer we have many cadets going to schools (Airborne, Air Assault, and Sapper Leader Course), working as Army interns, and going overseas as part of the CULP program. I wish the best of luck to all the cadets in the training they have to look forward to this summer. 

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From the Cadet Battalion Commander

Cadet Mark Wallach

Cadet Mark Wallach

The Fall 2019 Semester seemed to go by in a matter of seconds. With a very large incoming class of MS1s, the program was able to develop in new and exciting ways. 

Things kicked off quickly, and after exciting Orientation week activities and recruiting on K-day, we were already at our Fall field training exercise in week three. For the first time in many years (or at least since I have been here), every single Cadet was able to gain experience with the M4 rifle, firing live rounds at pop-up targets. Cadets gained experience in land navigation, ate MREs, and built confidence and esprit de corps on the obstacle courses. In addition to doing a joint FTX with Northern Michigan University’s ROTC program, we reignited the tradition of running the game ball from Northern to Michigan Tech for the NMU vs MTU football game. 

The program achieved great success at its second annual Husky Alpine Mountain Run (HAMR), raising money for a local charity and for the program. The program sent two teams to the task force ranger challenge at Fort McCoy. For the first time in program history, seven cadets participated in the Norwegian Foot March in Minnesota, and all finished with time to spare. 

This semester we began using a new training area on Michigan Tech’s campus. This new area gave us a bit more freedom, and allowed us to utilize paintball guns and other intense training aids. MS3s have certainly been sent through the ringer, enduring stress tests, lab planning, and managing their squads. MS2s took great strides and established their place as team leaders, teaching the MS1s the ropes and maintaining discipline. MS1s have drank from the fire hose and are ecstatic to enter a new semester. 

Leading the Battalion this semester has been an honor, and I cannot commend the program enough for all of its accomplishments. The next semester is packed with ROTC events, including Day of Challenges, Northern Warfare Challenge, Spring FTX, and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. Under the new leadership of Cadet Lucas Catron, I have no doubt the program will continue to do great things. 

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Awards Ceremony and Change of Command

This semester’s awards ceremony commended those who achieved excellence. Cadets were recognized for making the Dean’s list in the Spring 2019 semester, as well as those Cadets who achieved a 300 or greater on the Army physical fitness test. The most coveted award for MS1s and MS2s, however, is the 1st Lieutenant Ben Hall Memorial Cadet of the Semester award. The recipient of this award showed overall excellence in academics, PT, and leadership throughout the semester. The commendation was awarded to Cadet Mia Fairchild. 

Following the awards ceremony, the change of command and change of responsibility ceremony took place. Cadet Mark Wallach relinquished command of the 1st Arctic Warrior Battalion to Cadet Lucas Catron, and Cadet Collin Mitchell handed over responsibility to Cadet Kyle Blaedow. The professor of military science, outgoing commander, and incoming commander gave their speeches, and the ceremony ended with a reception, hosted by the new commander. Upon relinquishment of command, Cadet Mark Wallach was awarded the coveted Cadet Battalion Commander saber, as a sign of gratitude for his service. 

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Dining In

by Cadet Kaelen Redmond 

The Dining In is a time-honored tradition all across the Army, full of fun, games, and overall comradery. This year I had the opportunity to not only help plan for, but also be one of the MCs of the event. Now for anyone who doesn’t know; that two hour spectacle took about two months of planning and preparation. From choosing the theme and divvying out tasks to those on the committee, to making the script and buying the food, a lot of time and effort went into ensuring everyone had a fun time.

Now my job as an MS3 was Mr. Vice, meaning my partner in crime –THE Cadet Jacob Palmreuter – and I had to both be professionals and completely ridiculous at the same time. In all honesty we had a blast with this, and our tomfoolery was even cadre approved so we knew that we could get away with some unorthodox antics: yelling at cadets, telling a superior that I did not care about whatever he was saying, making someone wear a wig. Never would I do anything like this outside of an event like this. The food was fantastic, switching things up with ribs was a great call. Whoever is in charge of this next year write that down.

The entertainment was phenomenal, the slide show was entertaining and a nice review of the semester, and the skits were almost all gut busters. MSIs – you already know you’ve got some room to improve. But there is just a certain joy one gets from Cadet Maxey using a robot voice to say “I wish to make a one rope bridge” that you simply cannot find anywhere outside of these types of events. By the end of the night I can safely say that everyone was in a great mood and felt closer to their classmates and the Battalion as a whole. 

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Army vs Air Force: Flag Football and Ice Hockey

by Cadet Collin Mitchell 

The Army and Air Force ROTC programs at Michigan Tech have created a competition series known as the Triple Crown. This series is composed of three events: flag football, ice hockey, and cross country skiing. Flag football, the first event, is held every year at the Michigan Tech football stadium during the intramural flag football season. This year Army came to the game with an intensity and skill that the Air Force could not keep up with that lead to Army winning by a score of forty-nine to seven. Coming off of this win, Army brought its motivation into the newly founded ice hockey game hosted at the John MacInnes ice arena. The Lieutenant Colonels of Michigan Tech Army and Air Force ROTC played goalie for their respective programs while cadets and cadre battled for the second series game. The game was neck and neck for the whole game, with a final score of nine to eight and Army taking a second win in the series. The final event is cross country skiing and will take place during the Spring semester of Michigan Tech, in which Army is set to take the final victory over Air Force and win the Triple Crown trophy. 

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Leadership Labs

by Cadet Logan Alger 

Michigan Tech Army ROTC Leadership Labs occur once a week every Thursday afternoon. It is here that the leaders of tomorrow get hands-on experience in tactical leadership training. Common training labs revolve around team, squad, platoon movement operations detailed in the Ranger Handbook. 

These labs do not occur spontaneously, however. Weeks of cadet-led preparation and planning go into each lab. Halloween lab being one of the few exceptions, MS3 cadets spend these weeks creating slideshows outlining their lab plan to brief for approval, training their peers in order to led training on the lab date, and doing recon of the lab site to ensure lab safety. After their final lab brief is approved by the MS4 class and battalion cadre, the MS3 lab leader serves as the point-person for all day-of lab activities. 

A couple of favorites among cadets include:

Team Building Lab 

Team building labs are used to encourage esprit de corps amongst ROTC cadets and their squads. During our most recent team building lab, activities included an ROTC-related escape room, a squad strength contest with reps of squats, ACFT pull-ups, and ACFT push-ups, and a Kahoot trivia game testing general Army and battalion knowledge. 

Halloween Lab

Designed by the MS4 S3 planning shop, MS3 cadets were put to the test through a series of rigorous challenges designed to test their tactical leadership knowledge. Challenges ranged from getting their teams to cross a rope bridge in under 20 minutes, using land navigation techniques to guide their teams from location to location, to eliminating “enemies” with individual movement techniques in a paintball arena. 

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Husky Alpine Mountain Run (HAMR)

by Cadet Will Norton 

On October 26th, over 100 members of the community came together to race in the 2nd annual Husky Alpine Mountain Run (HAMR). This race helped connect the Arctic Warriors with the community as well as give back. The HAMR was able to donate $441 to the Copper Country Senior Meals program. The Copper Country Senior Meals program helps support local seniors by providing meals, and a visit from a dedicated delivery person. 

This year’s HAMR was sponsored by several sports teams including the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Redwings, and the Chicago Bears. Several other local companies also donated and supported the HAMR as well. Baby E’s BBQ had their food truck at the finish line, Hancock Co-Op provided fresh fruit and granola bars for participants, and many local businesses donated to the raffle after the race. Quincy Mine allowed the HAMR to route the course through the abandoned mine property. 

The new route greatly improved the HAMR, allowing a wider range of participants to have fun and compete. This revised route also incorporated stunning architecture from Quincy Mine, as well as providing a beautiful scenic overlook of Houghton. Many of the participants are eager for next year’s race and are very happy with the Arctic Warriors’ increased interaction with the community. 

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Norwegian Foot March

Cadets standing in a line during foot march.

by Cadet Lucas Catron 

One of the many new opportunities for cadets in the Fall of 2019 was the UMN Norwegian Foot March. 

A short history: “The Norwegian Foot March was first held in 1915 as a test of strength and endurance for members of the Norwegian military and to expose new soldiers to the conditions they can expect in the field. Those who completed a 30km distance with a backpack load of 11kg within 4.5 hours earned the Marsjmerket, the Norwegian Armed Forces Marching Badge. On the day after the event, the soldiers should be able to fully participate in regular duties.” 

MTU ROTC sent seven cadets to the event (Cadets Newell, Grulke, Maxey, Allen, Stelmaszek, Wittkopf, and Catron), who were graciously given overnight lodging the day before at the Arden Hills Army training site, and participated in the march at the site on November 23. All seven completed the foot march and qualified for the badge, and donated over one hundred pounds of non-perishable food for the Gopher Battalion’s food drive. Of the seven participating cadets, Cadet Grulke and Cadet Maxey took 23 and 24 out of 260 respectively. 

All the cadets that went have stated that they had a blast and hope to send another group next year. And that they only minimally regret having Tacobell the night before.. 

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