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. 

O-Week PT and BBQ

by Cadet Jesse Boehm 

During Freshman Orientation at Michigan Tech. MS1 cadets not only participate in university activities but also ROTC activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, O-Week PT, the ROTC Barbeque, and a family dinner for all of the new cadets. Orientation week is designed to familiarize the MS1’s with the very basics of Army ROTC so that they can begin to function in the program come the first week of school. Immediately, the freshmen are placed into a mentor tree, with cadets from each class to guide them through the semester. Orientation week acts as a bridge between student life and the rigorous training that cadets will undergo for the rest of their college careers. 

One of the feature events of orientation week was the very first PT session. To ease the cadets into the idea of early morning PT, orientation week PT is designed to have an element of fun. The very first session was a run along the Portage River. At the end of the run, all of the cadets ran into the Portage and enjoyed a warm fire with refreshments. Other PT sessions involved rifle PT and team competitions. The other main event for Orientation week was the barbeque. The barbeque is for students who have not yet heard about or joined ROTC. Current cadets (including the new MS1’s) can sit down with students to tell them about life in ROTC and try to recruit them. The barbeque is an excellent event that helps the new MS1’s become more comfortable as representatives of the program and also recruits a good percentage of the new cadets. With the solid foundation built by the activities of orientation week, the new cadets are ready to take on the challenges of Army ROTC. 

Cadet Coalition Warfighter Program (CCWP)

by Cadet Sarah Miller 

Cadet Sarah Miller with the Congolese Naval Operations Command

This past summer I had the opportunity to participate in the Cadet Coalition Warfighter Program (formally CULP). I was selected to travel to the Republic of Congo for a month-long experience where I was provided unique opportunities in cultural immersion and leadership training. While there I visited three different major cities within the borders of the Congo and gained invaluable experience in various aspects of international military relations.

The first destination I landed in was the capital city of Brazzaville. The first week was filled with learning about customs and courtesies in the Congolese culture and engaging in humanitarian mission work throughout scattered villages. US cadets worked together in efforts to restore a village by digging wells for water and filling sandbags to aid in the management of the erosion problem caused by flooding from the rainy season, building rapport with the Congolese villagers. Exploring the historic sites, visiting the marketplaces, and tasting authentic foods was also a part of this time. Week two brought new adventures in the City of Pointe Noire, a port city along the Atlantic Ocean coast. While there, I visited the Congolese Naval Operations Command and toured the operations yard where the major export/imports are controlled in and out of the country. I boarded one of the naval vessels and learned about the role of U.S. Naval Forces Africa in their goals to improve maritime security and safety internationally.

Finally, I spent one week engaged with the Congolese cadets at the military academy. While there, I practiced leadership in various roles of command, completed physical training, ran the obstacle course, and participated in tactical operations exchange among the US and Congolese cadets. Looking back at my experience, I learned to appreciate the value of teamwork and cooperation and gained knowledge of military understanding beyond the US border. 

Engineering Internship Program (EIP)

by Cadet Will Norton

Cadet Will Norton

This summer I completed the Engineering Internship Program (EIP) and I was stationed in Kansas City, MO.

Over the course of this internship, I had the opportunity to meet with a representative from the Office of Budget Management, who works directly with President Trump. I also had the opportunity to tour several dams, climb inside of a turbine inside a hydroelectric dam, replace a magnesium anode on the main gate of a dam.

I was able to visit Ft. Leavenworth, Ft. Leonard Wood, conduct maintenance on Bradley Fighting Vehicles, validate training and run through a virtual gunnery range at Ft. Riley. I also received invaluable training from a 1LT(P) that I was shadowing and had several sit-down conversations with the District Commander. 

Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT)

by Cadet Zack Peitz 

Cadet Troop Leader Training, or CTLT, a summer training program where cadets shadow an active-duty lieutenant. The objective of CTLT is for cadets to gain experience and knowledge regarding leadership, responsibility, and increase leadership confidence. During the training period, three to four weeks, cadets observe, participate and may perform the duties of a platoon leader (PL). Almost every branch is available to be shadowed and cadets have the opportunity to spend some time with officers in other branches than just the one they are assigned to. I shadowed a PL of a Mechanized Infantry platoon. I spent three weeks at Ft. Irwin, CA and was involved in planning, field exercises, and experienced officer life. CTLT provides cadets with a better understanding of officer duties, responsibilities, and leadership. 

Project Global Officer (GO)

Cadet Emma Coenen with program participants

by Cadet Emma Coenen 

This past summer I had the opportunity to participate in Project Global Officer (Project GO). I was accepted into the Arabic I program at Indiana University. I lived in the dorms provided and was given a stipend for food. The Arabic program had a language pledge, which meant that I was supposed to speak only in Arabic while in class, in the dorms, or while speaking to people in a language program at the University. As a first-year this was very challenging due to my limited vocabulary, but the other students and I did our best to adhere to the pledge. I had class Monday-Friday for 4 hours and was required to attend a mandatory lecture, 3 hours of tutoring, and a cultural event every week. We had homework every day ranging from about 2 hours of work to 10. While the workload was intense, I learned equivalent to 2 semesters of Arabic in 9 weeks and made many new friends in the program. My class only had 13 students, so we received sufficient help in class and became a close-knit group, along with our teachers. Teachers and staff were fantastic and did what they could to help students succeed. Through this program, I was immersed not only in the language but the culture as well. We participated in religious holidays and were able to observe prayer in a mosque. Learning a new language is difficult but rewarding in many different ways. If given the opportunity, I would definitely do it again.