Air Force ROTC War Games in Stone Valley
The ratatat of a 50 Caliber Machine Gun firing blanks kept campers awake last weekend as cadets from our Air Force ROTC unit deployed to Penn State’s camp grounds in Stone Valley on a field training exercise (FTX). Cadets were able to test their leadership skills and their air power battle knowledge in order to out-maneuver enemy forces led by senior cadets and active duty Air Force officers.
The cadets started early in the morning on Saturday, preparing for their deployment and then organizing their own mobility processing line that mirrored active duty processes. Upon their arrival at Stone Valley, the cadets quickly established a perimeter, defensive fighting positions, and a vehicle checkpoint.
The cadet leadership immediately began intellectual war games, resembling a giant game of Risk, except with the stress of a time crunch as 130 cadets awaited their orders (you can’t flip the board over and stomp away angrily in FTX either). As the leadership made decisions, the cadets in the field began their assault on enemy forces. The exercise lasted well into the night, ending at 1:30 am with cadets exhausted from putting their skills to the test.
This was the first time that any AFROTC unit implemented a full air power exercise anywhere in the country, and the cadets designed the entire program from the ground up. The program caught the attention of Air Force leadership and is being considered for nationwide implementation starting next year. The cadets from Penn State are already highly regarded as some of the best trained Air Force officers, and this program will surely improve upon that image.
Who knows? Maybe some of the Air Force ROTC exercises will bleed over to the general public. That would certainly make Humans vs. Zombies more entertaining.
[Photo Credit: Stefan Choquette]