Day: February 12, 2020

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.. 

Ranger Challenge

Cadets in full uniform on the ground raising legs with hands behind back.

Ranger Challenge was a grueling 26-mile long trek filled with events in below-freezing temperatures all while carrying our rucksacks. The actual event started the night before with a 4.5 mile relay race with the fastest members on the team. Depending on how well the team did on the relay race determined when we could start the 26 miles. Thankfully we were one of the fastest teams and got to be the first team to start the day of events. It was cold and we could not wait to start moving.

The events that we had to do were a medical lane, weapons lane, calling for artillery fire, maneuvering a zodiac boat, making a rope bridge, doing a PT test, and finally, conducting a live-fire stress shoot with a M4 carbine and M9 pistol. These events did a great job at testing the physical and mental endurance of the team, especially once the rope bridge started. We all got soaked in the water and there was no way around it. Our feet were freezing and we had to do a run for the PT challenge. We then had to put our 35-50 pound rucksacks back on and march a few more miles to the stress shoot. At this stress shoot lane our hand froze from the rain and cold as we tried to put our shots downrange.

After the shooting we had to march all the way back to the starting line which was 12 miles away. Due to the horrid rain and snow conditions the final ruck march got shortened to 9 miles. We were beyond thankful. We put on our ponchos, which made us look like gigantic turtles and began the trek back. Everyone finished, no one was left behind. We had to pull and push each other to keep on moving forward, but we all made it. We had started at 0600 and we were done by 1600 

The next morning we had one more event to do. The obstacle/confidence course. We jumped and ran through those obstacles as fast as we could. We completed some obstacles which we had never even seen or done before. Finally we finished and completed Ranger Challenge. We then all packed up in the vans and went to Dunkin Donuts and then back to Michigan Tech. 

Physical Training (PT)

Two cadets with ruck sacks running on track.

by Cadet Carter Maxey 

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning of each week, every cadet in the program gets the joy of experiencing Physical Training (PT). Each PT session is created and instructed by your squad leader. Your squad leader will often base their PT session on how to best prepare you for the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) which occurs twice every semester. 

You might have been a very athletic individual in high school like many other cadets and that will help you a lot more than you think within the program. You might notice as soon as winter break that 80% of your friends are losing that athletic build that they all had in high school. Meanwhile you are still maintaining the same body you had before or better. You will be happy that the Army has you committed to a workout plan that fits your schedule unlike your peers. You won’t only stand out among your peers, but you will also be receiving the many other health benefits that come along with being physically in shape. 

PT sessions are not always just work outs; we like to have a lot of fun with it as well. Personally, being part of 4th squad, we have competed in many different things against various squads. For example, we played 2nd squad in a very intense game of soccer on the MTU football field under the Friday morning lights. We also played 3rd squad in a game of ultimate frisbee, where we absolutely dominated. Not to mention all the fun things we do as a battalion such as Halloween PT, where we all dress up in a goofy manor, and play dodgeball versus air force. 

An overwhelming majority of the cadets put their maximum effort into every session because they realize how beneficial it is for their life personally and as a cadet here at MTU. Everyone can benefit greatly and have fun with our PT program if you show up and put in the effort every session. 

NMU to MTU Football Run

Four Cadets standing in front of the NMU vs MTU ball game run flag at the back of a van.

Cadet Charles Cortes 

This year the program reignited the tradition or running the football 100 miles from Marquette to Houghton for the Northern Michigan vs Michigan Tech football game. Cadets from NMU would run the first 50 miles, and Tech cadets would run the second. It was pouring rain, and occasionally passing cars would and splash us a little bit, but a police escort made sure we were never hit. Cadets would ride in a van to predetermined checkpoints, then were handed the ball from the previous and runner and run 2-4 miles each. I remember when I finally got the football, I was ecstatic, and probably ran a faster 2-mile than during a PT test. When I finished, soaking wet, I couldn’t help but smile when Cadet BC Wallach screamed, “That’s my mentee!” The motivating and exciting atmosphere made the football run one of the most memorable events that the Arctic Warriors participated in. 

Fall Field Training Exercise (FTX)

Cadet Nathan Krueger 

This year’s Fall Field Training Exercise (FTX) was different from any previous FTX we have participated in recently. One of the exiting things was the majority of this FTX was MS4 planned and run. However, it was not just MTU cadets, we shared this weekend at Fort McCoy, WI with Northern Michigan cadets. The MTU and NMU cadets were integrated and divided into two platoons, and MS3s were placed into leadership positions that rotated every day. The first day we did the obstacle course (OCourse), confidence course, Situational Training Exercises (STX), and Land Navigation (Land Nav). The OCourse and confidence course are two obstacle courses that train cadets how to quickly and properly traverse obstacles. The STXs are outside escape rooms. Cadets are given a task and a certain amount of time to accomplish that task. These train and asses leadership among the squad of 9 cadets who are doing the exercise. Then, we went to the woods, got maps, compasses, and walked around in the hopefully finding the map points we were given. That night differentiated this FTX from any past FTX as we slept outside in a Patrol Base (a ‘triangle of security’ formed by sleeping cadets with one awake on each side throughout the night). The next day continued this differentiation from past FTXs as everyone got to shoot rifles that day—not just the MS3 and 4s. That night we walked around the woods again, in the dark, looking for more points. The next day we woke up, cleaned, and headed back to the U.P. 

FTXs are an integral part in cadet training as it’s the only way we can shoot rifles, do obstacle courses, STXs, large Land Nav courses, and be with cadets from other schools. This experience is invaluable for all cadets, because during MS3 summer we are graded on these events at Advance Camp. Fall FTX is also a cornerstone for how the year will proceed because it is a huge event on just the 3rd week of school. The third and most important task of Fall FTX is to be a stepping off point for the brand new MS1 cadets who may not know what they are getting into. The way this FTX was conducted, I believe that the current MS1s are well on their way to being awesome cadets in the Michigan Tech Army ROTC Program.