FTX

Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets from Virginia Tech, Radford University, and Wake Forest University, deploy once a semester from their respective universities to a field training exercise, also known as an “FTX,” at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant’s Dublin site.

For most of the third-year cadets, the FTX focuses on perfecting what they have learned as a cadet before attending the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Washington during the summer. More commonly known as LDAC, it is a 28-day course that trains and evaluates cadets prior to commissioning, and is usually attended between the third and fourth years of training.

The Army ROTC New River Battalion, which is made up of the cadets and cadre from Virginia Tech and Radford University, usually schedules one FTX for each semester in late October and mid-April. These exercises give cadets a chance to further develop and refine their military science education outside of a classroom or lab setting, ultimately focusing on preparing them for LDAC.

The first day's exercises focused on demonstrating day and night land navigation skills. Cadets were to correctly map and then locate in the field a given set of coordinates using only a map, a special protractor, and a compass. They completed two of these courses on Friday, one through the afternoon and another later in the evening after sunset. The courses are designed to closely resemble what cadets will experience at LDAC in terms of distance and difficulty.

Most of the second day was focused on situational training exercise lanes, which are two to three-hour long missions that are designed to evaluate the leadership abilities of the cadets assigned to positions such as patrol leader and squad leaders. The lanes include a variety of missions, including ambushes, raids, reconnaissance and media or civilian on the battlefield contact. Like the land navigation courses, these exercises are designed to replicate what the cadets will eventually face at LDAC. After arriving back at the exercise headquarters area, cadets were given hot chow and sent out on another night land navigation course.

For the final day of training, third year cadets were bussed to the Radford Army Ammunition Plant's Radford site, where they underwent the Field Leadership Reaction Course, which essentially is similar to a civilian ropes course and were then bussed back to their respective univesities after the underclassmen were bussed home.