Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thoughts on ROTC

Couple of good posts relating to (AF)ROTC circulating around...

The first is a post over at Op-For from a few weeks ago about the revamping of USAF Basic Training, which in the comments turned into a discussion of AFROTC Field Training. When I went down to Maxwell I spent a whole three days out of a 28 day encampment out in the "field." Even then, the "field" was just the BLUE THUNDER! training facility about two miles away from the OTS Complex where we were in garrison. We "deployed" by doing a road march there. On top of that, once there, the exercise was nominally useful but could've been a lot better. I mean, we did our convoy training in minivans. We didn't receive any sort of actual weapons training beyond the M-9, which is good and all, but I'm pretty sure if you deploy into a situation where you're actually engaging the enemy, you're going to need more than your trusty sidearm.

It looks like that is going to change. They're going to spent two-thirds of the encampment in the "field," with a third at BLUE THUNDER! and a third at JRTC at Fort Polk. They're going to get real convoy training, hand to hand combat training, and weapons familiarization on the M-4 (and possibly the M-249 and M-240). On top of that, when they deploy to Fort Polk they might get flown in on Herks.

It's a start, however, I don't think it's enough. For a really good discussion on the limitations of AFROTC's summer training programs and some suggestions on change, check out the comments of the above linked Op-For post. Some good back and forth between myself and John.

The second post is over at In From the Cold, discussing this article about ROTC at the University of Minnesota. As with the Op-For post, there's some discussion in the comments. The article is a good summary of what life is like for an ROTC cadet: early mornings, higher standards, and more responsibility. The comments contain some good discussion regarding AFROTC scholarships. Suffice to say I don't really agree with the current standard of strong bias in favor of engineering and other technical degrees.