The Huskie Battalion junior class (MSIIIs) traveled to Marseilles Training Area on March 30th to participate in a weekend training event specifically designed to prepare them for their summer challenge. All of them will attend the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) this summer at Fort Lewis, Washington. They will join every rising senior in ROTC from across the nation, numbering around 7,000, and be placed in mixed squads. There is a good chance they won't know anyone in the their squad. The squad will have to work together in order to meet the requirements of the 30 day course.
During this Combined Field Training Exercise (CFTX), regional schools joined forces to simulate this aspect of LDAC. Along with NIU, Wheaton College, Olivet Nazarene, Western Illinois, University of Illinois-Chicago, Dupaul, Loyola, and Chicago State all sent their juniors to the training at Marseilles. Once randomly arranged in squads, they completed squad level and then platoon level tactical missions. The leadership of each mission, which rotated each iteration, was evaluated by either a senior ROTC cadet or an ROTC instructor. The cadets also completed a day and night land navigation course.
With only a couple of hours of sleep each night, the weekend was a demanding one. The cadets covered a lot of ground, over challenging terrain, during the two and half days. It was a valuable event as it gave the cadets an idea of what it will be like this summer when they have to work together with other cadets from across the nation under very demanding conditions. NIU will send 16 juniors to LDAC this summer and the CFTX was an important part of their preparation.