Kentucky OCS and ROTC Soldiers unite

Story by 2nd Lt. Michael Reinersman, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Officer Candidate Benjamin Smith from Class 57-15 pulls security during the combined Officer Candidate School, Reserve Officer Training Corps with Western Kentucky University and Murray State University during a field training exercise at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., April 17, 2015. Smith and 73 other Soldiers participated in the second combined OCS and ROTC exercise. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 2nd. Lt. Michael Reinersman)

GREENVILLE, Ky. – Future Army leaders from across the commonwealth joined forces to conduct a combined field training exercise at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., April 16-18, 2015.

Officer candidates from the Kentucky National Guard Officer Candidate School along with cadets from Murray State University and Western Kentucky University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps spent three days in the field covering troop leading procedures while conducting platoon and squad level tactics.

This included scenarios such as movement to contact and platoon ambush and raids. The goal of the combined field training exercise is to assess and provide instruction to the officer candidates and ROTC cadets in leadership positions while conducting infantry tasks.

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Capt. Colin Bair, Assistant Professor of Military Science at Murray State University conducts an after action review with cadets from Western Kentucky University and Kentucky Guard Officer Candidates during field training exercise at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., April 17, 2015. This marks the second year that ROTC programs from Western Kentucky and Murray State have participated in the field training exercises with the Kentucky OCS program. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 2nd. Lt. Michael Reinersman)

According to Western Kentucky University’s Assistant Professor of Military Science, Capt. Lincoln Ward, there are many benefits to training and collaborating with the Kentucky Guard.

“This has been a good partnership,” said Ward. “Working with new soldiers from different backgrounds provides a new challenge to the cadets.” Adding that, “The Kentucky National Guard provides us with resources that we don’t normally have at a ROTC program or the NCO support that can help access land and medics.”

This marks the second year that ROTC programs from Western Kentucky and Murray State have participated in the field training exercises with the Kentucky OCS program. To enhance training this year, cadets and candidates used a military grade paintball system, to simulate live fire.

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“This enhancement from last year’s training will make it more realistic and environmentally friendly by using bio degradable paint balls,”said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Kennedy, operations noncommissioned officer for the 238th Regimental Training Institute. “It is a better alternative than having shell casing all over the training area.”

Officer candidate Jennifer Steinmetz also echoed the mutual benefits of the training exercise.

“This would have been a hard training event to conduct since we don’t have the numbers,” said Steinmetz. “There are eight officer candidates, training with the cadets allowed the officer candidates to participate in full platoon and squad lanes,”

“Now, that we have those spots filled, during phase three, it will not be such a shock when we conduct platoon and squad lanes.”

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Capt. Colin Bair, Assistant Professor of Military Science at Murray State University checks the coordinates of ROTC Cadet Kelsey McArthur and Chrystal Falefata from Western Kentucky University during field training exercise at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., April 17,2015. The goal of the combined field training exercise is to assess and provide instruction to the officer candidates and ROTC cadets in leadership positions while conducting infantry tasks. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 2nd. Lt. Michael Reinersman)

Phase three is the last step in the OCS commissioning process. The final phase covers troop leading procedures, infantry squad tactics, and culminates with a field leadership exercise at Fort McClellan, Alabama.

Cadet Kyle Taylor with Western Kentucky University and a member of Kentucky’s Bravo Company, 149th Infantry, said training on a college campus is just plain difficult.

“Since we don’t have a lot space on campus, it’s great to be in a tactical environment and run lanes,” he said. “We are able to evaluate each other and work to get better.”

According to both Kentucky OCS and ROTC leadership, the Spring FTX was another successful collaboration between two commissioning programs to develop future leaders in the Kentucky Guard, Army Reserve and active duty.

Video by Spc. Cody Cooper, 133rd MPAD

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