July 18, 2012
Educators, administrators experience Army ROTC camp
They came from across the country, strangers in a strange environment. They left as friends, ready to tell the Army’s story to people back home.
Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was one of 43 college administrators and educators who took part in the annual Leader’s Training Course Influencers Visit from July 9-13. Participants literally had the opportunity to step into the boots of cadets, learning what students experience while in training and how ROTC develops future leaders.
"Fewer than 1 percent of Americans step up and raise their hand and say, 'I will serve' these days. The future leaders of our armed forces depend on university programs like our Army and Air Force ROTC to prepare them," Dorhout said. "As a land-grant university, instruction in the military arts is part of the original Morrill Act. K-State has been training Army cadets since 1863."
The visit serves to build a bridge between the ROTC faculty and cadre and the administrators and faculty of particular educational intuitions.
"It's a chance for us as deans and faculty to learn about the challenges of military instructors who come to campus to become a professor of military science, PMS, for three years. These men and women arrive here, often after extensive tours overseas, and our university language and three letter acronyms are as foreign to them as their's appear to us," Dorhout said. "A successful PMS means we will have successful students and the best graduates."
During the five-day visit, the group stopped by several training sites at Leader's Training Course, where they saw how training is conducted, tried their hand at the activities and dined on MREs – meals-ready-to-eat. They also ate dinner one evening in a dining facility, getting an opportunity to interact with cadets, and view a graduation ceremony.
Participants took in two full days of training while at Fort Knox followed by a day of briefings and tours. Like cadets going through the Leader’s Training Course, they were challenged to face their fears and work together to accomplish tasks such as the high ropes course, water rescues, and rappelling.
"I have pain in muscles that I didn't know existed," Dorhout said. "As an Eagle Scout who last worked at a summer camp in 1979, my brain knew how to do most of the tasks such as knot tying and rafting, but the body just doesn't recover as fast anymore."
The Leader’s Training Course is the premier leadership program of its kind in the United States. An intense four-week introduction to Army life and leadership training of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, the aim of the course is to motivate and qualify cadets for entry into the Senior ROTC program.
"Army ROTC is a true leadership practicum and development program where student cadets learn leadership theory while simultaneously putting that theory into practice by participating in a Cadet Battalion," said retired Army Lt. Col Scott Bridegam, a former professor of military science at K-State. "The Leadership Training Course Educators and Influencers visit allows education and community leaders to experience that practicum first-hand and return to their respective institutions and community to share their personal Army story. It is a powerful partnership that enhances our world-class leadership program. Having university leadership like Dean Dorhout participate is testament to the tremendous military inclusive enterprise that exists at Kansas State University."