Broncho Battalion trains hard for upcoming Advance Camp
Giselle Zavaleta, a UCO senior in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), is preparing like students across the country to gain the skills to become a military officer after graduation. At this point in her college career, it is becoming a way of life.
“Once you get to be a junior or a senior, your world revolves around ROTC,” said Zavaleta.
For four years, ROTC cadets train rigorously for military duties while applying themselves in the classroom.
“The whole three years [freshman to junior year] is preparation for Advance Camp,” she said.
Advance Camp is 35 days of military training involving ROTC groups from universities around the nation. With restrictions on where you sleep and when you shower, it’s not much like many summer camps, and with the cadets trying to find which body wipes would make the best substitute for a shower, this camp is no joke nor is it taken as one.
In preparation for Advance Camp and to prepare their cadets for a future in military service, the biggest universities in Oklahoma–Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Central Oklahoma– got all of their ROTC cadets together for a weekend of field training exercises at Oklahoma’s Camp Gruber on Sept. 22-24.
The three university ROTC programs benefitted by allowing the cadets to cross school lines and form new friendships. The cadets held each other accountable and even helped each other fine tune the skills they’ve been taught in a classroom and finally get to practice, “Some people from OU were giving me advice on how to shoot,” ROTC Junior Sydney Oakley said.
The ROTC cadets had their introductory field exercise doing qualifications for the M4. This is a test of skills and knowledge to see if the person is ready to handle and shoot the M4, which is a standard firearm for the U.S. military. The students were able to work together and bolster each other’s confidence and assist each other in sharpening their skills.
One of the more daunting exercises that the cadets had to face over the weekend was the 60-foot repel tower where the cadets used teamwork, trust and some encouragement to make it to the ground without a hitch.
“The National Guard was there showing us how to repel,” Oakley said.
Dressed in full military uniform for three whole days, the cadets took the training seriously. The barracks was a restful place for them to sleep after finishing their exercises, however, next spring they might not be so lucky — there is some talk of them possibly having to sleep outside in 2024.
But through all the trials and the difficulties that come with military training, Oakley remains optimistic.
“It’s a super-friendly environment, just because everyone wants to push everyone to help each other out.”