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Training tomorrow's leaders.

Fort Lewis, Wash., is once again the site of the annual Operation Warrior Forge exercise held annually by the U.S. Army Cadet Command.

Each year, for the three months of summer, the post's population grows by more than 8,000 people as 4,300 Army ROTC cadets are joined by Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers and ROTC college staff members conducting the exercise.

About 1,500 Fort Lewis Soldiers and civilians support the event, which runs from June 3 through Aug. 11, while the rest of the crowd arrives from installations and colleges across the nation.

Fort Lewis has been the only site for Warrior Forge, also referred to as the Leader Development and Assessment Course, since 1997. It brings together cadets from all 272 college ROTC programs within Cadet Command's jurisdiction and is the largest annual training exercise conducted by the Army.

"This is the single most important event in a cadet's military training," said COL Steven R. Corbett, Warrior Forge commander, "and the nexus of all campus-based training. We have gathered cadre and support staff from across the nation to make this experience challenging and rewarding for every cadet."

Twelve ROTC cadet regiments compose Warrior Forge 2006. Each is affiliated with an active-duty Army regiment, plus one Officer Candidate School regiment sponsored by the Washington Army National Guard.

The ROTC regiments each complete a 32-day training cycle.

Corbett said that lessons learned in global Army operations have been used to improve the focus of training, which has become more rigorous over the years.

"We've added new training events, significantly modified others and increased the amount of time that cadets will spend in the woods of Fort Lewis," Corbett said.

Army ROTC enrolls cadets through a variety of scholarship and nonscholarship programs that generally require between two and four years of college, with military science classes and a bachelor's degree needed to qualify for commissioning as a second lieutenant.

The Simultaneous Membership Program has allowed Army National Guard and Army Reserve enlisted Soldiers to attend college ROTC while they're assigned to a unit, but now a new initiative called the Green To Gold Active Duty Option allows enlisted Soldiers to remain on active duty and draw full pay and allowances while attending up to two years of college while enrolled in ROTC on a scholarship.

The standard Green-to-Gold program, which can provide up to four years of tuition, requires the Soldier to first be discharged and then complete the ROTC program, re-entering service as an officer.

"The young men and women who have traveled from across our nation to attend Warrior Forge bring with them youth, energy and the will to win," said Corbett. "The awesome responsibility of leading America's sons and daughters is not one that is earned easily."

And LDAC is not easy, although the training is designed to begin at a manageable pace and then pick up complexity and difficulty as it progresses, giving the cadets time to "get their heads into the game," so to speak, Corbett said.

The mission of Warrior Forge is to train cadets and National Guard officer candidates to Army standards, develop leadership and evaluate officer potential. This is accomplished through a tiered training structure using light-infantry tactics as the focus of instruction.

For more information about the Green to Gold Program Active Duty Option or other ROTC opportunities, go to www.goarmy.com/rotc or www.rotc.monroe.army.mil/scholarship_HPD2/green/options.htm and select the active-duty option.

RELATED ARTICLE: The focus of training.

Rosenburgh, Bob

Problem solving under stress is an inherent part of all Operation Warrior Forge cadet and officer-candidate training, officials said. The training program is sequential and progressive. It starts with individual training and leads to collective training, building from simple tasks to complex tasks.

1 Confidence Training. This block of instruction includes training in basic-combat water-survival techniques, rappeling, one-rope bridge training and a confidence/obstacle course. Confidence training challenges the cadets' physical courage, build confidence in personal abilities and assist in overcoming fear.

2 Basic Rifle Marksmanship. It ensures that future Army leaders know the characteristics of the M-16 rifle, how to fire it accurately and how to employ it in combat. Rifle marksmanship training teaches the cadets to engage and hit targets on the battlefield and requires them to fire for record. Qualification, with a score of 23 hits out of 40, is a camp-completion criterion.

3 Fire Support. The focus here is on the importance and lethality of artillery fire on the battlefield and employment of indirect fires. Each cadet is given the opportunity to perform the duties of howitzer crewman.

4 Land Navigation. This training must be mastered early in the camp cycle in order for cadets to be fully successful in the tactical training that follows. A passing score in land navigation is another LDAC-completion requirement.

5 First Aid. Learning first-aid techniques enhances the cadets' leadership skills by building confidence in their ability to react properly to battlefield wounds and threats of chemical-weapon attacks.

6 Individual Tactical Training. The first block of instruction in tactics at LDAC covers individual battlefield skills, combat-movement techniques, and procedures necessary for subsequent tactical training at the squad and platoon levels.

7 U.S. Weapons Training. This segment of instruction teaches the characteristics, functions and employment of the Army's primary infantry weapons. Cadets are introduced to such weapons as the M-240 light machine gun, M-2 .50-caliber machine gun, M-249 squad-automatic weapon and Mk. 19 grenade machine gun. This training provides skills used in later tactical phases of LDAC.

8 Squad Situational Training. This exercise teaches squad battle drills and collective tasks. It begins with a road march to the training area where cadets spend 10 days in the field.

Every year Warrior Forge helps Cadet Command provide about three-quarters of the Army's new officers, invigorates the local economy both on and off Fort Lewis, and provides added training to active-duty and reserve-component units, officials said.

Bob Rosenburgh is the Public Affairs Officer for Western Region Cadet Command.
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Title Annotation:focus of military program
Author:Rosenburgh, Bob
Publication:Soldiers Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:1005
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