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Cadet Life

Army ROTC cadets are exceptional students, held to a higher standard. Just like everyone else on campus, cadets choose a major and pursue an academic curriculum outlined by the University. However, the Army ROTC program is designed to forge a leader of soldiers out of a student among peers.

Once a week, cadets attend a military science class. For freshmen, this class is one hour. For sophomores, it is two hours. Juniors and seniors have a three-hour class. The classes are designed such that you learn a new military skill, then in leadership lab that week, you conduct practical exercises in that skill. Cadets are expected to know nothing military related upon arrival. Cadets learn it, do it, then teach it as juniors and seniors.

As a Cadet You Will Experience:

  • Physical Training (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 0630-0730)
  • Military Science Class (Once a week, anywhere from one to three hours.)
  • Leadership Lab (Thursday morning 0630-0900)
  • Dining In and Military Ball (One per semester in the evening.)
  • Field Training Exercises (One per semester over the weekend.)
  • Army Schools (Airborne, Air Assault, Cultural Immersion, Studying Abroad.)

Typical Day of a Cadet:

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays begin with Physical Training (PT) in the morning at 0630 until 0730. The student then goes to University classes.

Thursdays begin with ROTC labs at 0630 until 0900 in which cadets learn about military training through practical exercises.

Below are testimonies from Cadets within the Wolfpack describing some of what a typical week may look like from Freshman (MS 1) to Senior (MS 4).

MS1, a first-year Cadet

“No two weeks in ROTC is the same as any other week. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we have PT at 6:30 in the morning, but every day the training is different whether it is a four-mile run, weightlifting, or other kinds of physical training. Every Thursday we have a lab to run through training on anything from basic first aid to land navigation. Though that is the majority of the training that we do, the weekend is usually some of the best training that we get. One weekend we may go out to the woods and train as if we were in a hostile environment, the next we may be testing our marksmanship at a range. This past weekend we even drove down to Tennessee to take part in the Mountain Man Memorial March which has events like a full marathon, the half marathon, or those same events but with a 35 pound ruck on your back. Every week in ROTC is different from the last, but each week is just as valuable as the one before.”

MS2, a second-year Cadet

“On a typical day 5:30 a.m. rolls around, and we are out of bed getting ready for physical training at 6:15 a.m., where we are pushed to surpass our goals. After an hour of working out, we transition to a regular college student, and attend classes for the day. Following a day full of classes and homework, I have some time to relax before my soccer practice from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Classes are challenging, and it can be tough at times, but as a Cadet, we are able to balance the ROTC workload, academics, our sports teams, and our social lives. There is a reason we are held to a higher standard. We are disciplined, as well as capable of taking on a lot more than others every day because we have the strong desire to be the best.”

MS3, a third-year Cadet

“A week in the life of an ROTC student starts every week with PT. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday start at 0630 and physical training runs for an hour. Usually after a solid workout, the chain of command passes on information necessary for the week’s training, or for future events. Tuesday’s see juniors and seniors at their military science classes from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., where they organize the week’s training, prepare orders, and learn doctrine and tactics to become an officer in the United States Army. Thursdays (and occasionally Saturdays) are for hands-on lab training, which are three hours or longer on the weekend. The underclassmen then have their military science classes to reinforce the training they received that Thursday. All this is balanced with various clubs, sports, jobs, and other activities that a normal college student may undertake. This also is only a typical week, and does not account for additional training such as LDX, Hymer’s Challenge, or Mountain Man Memorial March.

MS4, a fourth-year Cadet

“Monday begins with an hour-long workout, and then you begin your student-school day. That is essentially how your days go. ROTC work in the morning, tied in with your class work the rest of the day. Monday night, you make sure everything is in order for your Tuesday morning training meeting and Military Science class. Tuesday morning’s class usually runs from 6 am. to 9 a.m. With that meeting done, you basically know what needs to happen the rest of the week. Wednesday you have another hour workout in the morning, and Thursday morning you put all of the planning to good use as you facilitate a training lab for freshman, sophomores, and juniors which is another three-hour session. Friday is the final hour workout for the week, and making sure you are prepped for any training that may be happening over the weekend.”

Most young men and women don’t know what they are truly capable of because they have never been tested to their limits.

Hymer’s Challenge was established in the spring of 2008 with the generous support of the late LTC (R) Charles Hymer. This voluntary individual skills competition is designed to present each participant with a variety of grueling and stressful situations which will test endurance, basic military skills, motivation, and decision making. It is open to all freshmen, sophomore, and junior Cadets in the Wolfpack Battalion.

Want to find out what you’re made of? Think you’re up to Hymer’s Challenge? We challenge you to test your limits, demonstrate the Army Values, and live the Warrior Ethos by competing.

“You have to lead men in war by bringing them along to endure and display qualities of fortitude that are beyond the average man’s though of what he should be expected to do. You have to inspire them when they are hungry and exhausted and desperately uncomfortable and in great danger. Only a man of positive characteristics of leadership and with the physical stamina that goes with it can function under those conditions.” – SLA Marshall

Mountain Man Memorial March is a marathon march held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, honoring First Lieutenant Frank Walkup who was killed in Iraq in 2007. The marathon consisted of 26.2 mile marathon and a 13.1 mile half marathon. Those participating in the heavy marathon must wear a 35 pound rucksack for the entire race.

John Carroll University participates in this event every year, and it now serves as an opportunity for cadets to challenge themselves physically and accomplish a task of which they may have thought themselves incapable.

Pershing Rifles is an organization of cadets held to a higher standard than the traditional ROTC cadet. Riflemen go through a selection process of skills training in military tasks and tactics as well as strict drill and ceremony in order to join the National Society of Pershing Rifles.

History of the National Society of Pershing Rifles

“To foster a spirit of friendship and cooperation among men in the military department and to maintain a highly efficient drill company.” This is the purpose of the Pershing Rifles, as propounded by its distinguished founder in the early 1890s.

In 1891 General Pershing, then a second Lieutenant in the Sixth Cavalry, became Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Nebraska. He, wishing to improve the morale of the ROTC unit, formed a select company of men, thereafter known as Company A.

In 1892 this company won the maiden competition at the Omaha Competition. In 1893, the special drill company became a fraternal organization bearing the name of “Varsity Rifles.” In 1894, the organization, in appreciation of the initiative and cooperation of Lt. Pershing, changed its name to “Pershing Rifles.”

When Pershing left Nebraska in 1895, he, at the request of a committee, gave the company a pair of his cavalry breeches. These breeches were cut into small pieces and were worn on the uniform as a sign of membership. These “ribbons” were the first service ribbons ever worn in the United States.

Ranger Challenge is an enhanced training team which competes every year in various warrior tasks. The team is for those who strive for physical and mental toughness and are always looking for a challenge.

What are the benefits?

  • Enhance your physical fitness.
  • Recognition as an elite member of the ROTC community.
  • Learn to operate as a team at all times.
  • Acquire the ability to think and function under strenuous situations.

Training description:

Physical Fitness Training will be extremely challenging. It will be held separate from the Battalion on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This training consists of both upper and lower body workouts, as well as endurance runs and fully equipped road marches.

The team trains three days a week and some Saturday mornings in order to master the skills required to execute the eight competitive events that take place in the Ranger Challenge Competition:

  • Basic Rifle Marksmanship
  • Land Navigation
  • Weapons Assembly (M16A1 and M60 Machine Gun)
  • Rope Bridge
  • Hand Grenade Assault Course
  • Patrolling
  • 10 km Road March
  • Physical Fitness Test