I got back from ROTC camp a week ago. It was fun, but I actually had a harder time being away from home than usual. I didn’t count on my daughter and wife pulling at my heart strings from thousands of miles away.
For training we did a lot of the same tasks as basic training (like marskmanship, first aid, gas chamber, etc. ), but everything is managed by the cadets. We also do ten days in the field, but that is in groups of 24 people instead of 200. It seemed like less could go wrong, even though a lot still did. One group of leaders made everybody stay on perimeter security for hours and four people pissed themselves. As a leader, you are given just enough rope to hang yourself with.
The camp is an interesting concept. Sort of an Army version of “Survivor.” Cadets are in a cut-throat competition to come out on top. The group learns to be wary of “Spotlight Rangers” (those who put on a show), and “Sharpshooters” (those that make themselves look better by making others look worse). In the end, the group prevails and individuals have a hard time. It was a good experience, but I’m glad it’s over. What makes it difficult is always being watched and evaluated, I think. I couldn’t really put my finger on it.
Some platoons try to screw each other over, but, my platoon was pretty tight as a group. We really tried to make it as enjoyable as possible. We had our own Fourth Platoon Idol, which I believe I won with my rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “A British Tar.”
The Song was inspired by these visiting British Cadets. They were a lot of fun.
My squad was especially really good friends. When you are married, you get to know one person intimately. Imagine being married to a group of twelve and everywhere you went, they went. I think I’ll be friends with these guys for a long time.