By: C/4C Rore, C/4C Szumilas
Field Training is a required event that takes place between a cadet’s sophomore and junior year and also is the path towards the Professional Officer Course. Its main mission is to develop leadership skills and teamwork in a cadet. Field Training is usually two to three weeks of training that prepares a cadet physically as well as mentally for any kind of situation to survive and fight for the country. To attend Field Training, cadets must obtain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and must pass the physical fitness assessment. Cadets also need to attempt the AFOQT as well. After the completion of Field Training, the cadet will be contracted with the United States Air force and will be successfully transferred to the Professional Officer Course from General Military Course.
Field Training is usually held at Maxwell Air Force Base, Texas, but for next year it will be held at Camp Shelby, Mississippi because it has more dormitories, a larger DFAC, and can conduct Field Training with a larger group. The main reason behind this change is because of COVID-19 restrictions, which also caused some cadets to miss Field Training 2020. In 2021, both the current 200s and many 300s will travel to Mississippi for Field Training.
Normally, Field Training has about 2,400 cadets but this year, only around 1,152 cadets attended. Before Field Training, cadets were required to self-quarantine at home. After arriving, they were tested and isolated for two days until they received their test results. There were other precautions taken while cadets were at training which included twice-daily temperature checks, eating meals as a flight separated from other flights, and limiting the number of cadets from four to two per dormitory. There were also strict actions taken towards COVID-19, an example being if one of the cadets showed symptoms, the whole flight including the instructors would be isolated.
Physical Fitness Assessment
By: C/4C Eason, C/4C Nguyen, C/4C Pena
The initial outlook of the Fall 2020 semester at Detachment 045 was that an official Physical Fitness Assessment would be impossible with COVID-19 regulations. The Physical Fitness Assessment is a mandatory test that all cadets have to take to go to field training. The Cadre and POC worked very hard to ensure that PFAs could be taken safely and to allow our cadets to attend field training. In the same fashion, as our LLABs have been, the PFA was limited to 20 cadets per day to stay within COVID-19 regulations. When not actively doing an exercise, social distancing and masks were in place keeping the cadets as safe as possible during the assessment.
The assessment tests every cadet’s ability to perform certain exercises. These exercises include push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. Height and waist measurement are still recorded however this year the waist requirements were waived due to COVID-19. Cadets need scores of 75 or above to pass the PFA, but scores of 90 or above are highly recommended.
This year, because of COVID-19, the Detachment has some cadets that are virtual-only. Virtual cadets would either take the PFA at the nearest Detachment they were close to or schedule a zoom meeting with a supervising POC or cadre member. For in-person cadets, they took the PFA at the Campbell Community Center track.
The PFA for in-person cadets were divided by groups, meaning that every flight would be taking their PFA on their respective LLAB days. For example, Alpha Alligators would take their PFA on Monday with the Bravo Boomers, while the Delta Dawgs would take their PFA on Wednesday. Cadets first paired up with another wingman, next they did the push-ups, then sit-ups, and finished with the 1.5-mile run. After every cadet was finished, the group would transition over to the Cadre office at SJSU to take their height and weight measurements.
To demonstrate the cadet experience at the PFAs, Cadet Third Class Jacob Belorousou - an AS250 cadet for whom this PFA holds a large amount of importance - stated that the PFA went extremely smoothly with the only problem being the dew on the ground making it harder to write down the scores on the sheet. He is thankful that Cadre and POC leadership made the PFA accessible and possible for cadets this year as it creates a lot of physical training motivation in the Detachment and was very needed by the cadets trying to attend field training this year.
Virtual cadets were instructed to complete a tracked 1.5-mile run using Strava and contacted their flight commander or group commander to schedule a time to do supervised pushups/situps over Zoom. The run and the pushups/situps should have been completed in the same time window to make the PFA as fair as possible. Another option was to do an in-person PFA with a detachment nearby. That detachment would record their scores and send them back to our detachment.
On 23 November 2020, Captain Tasso held a make-up PFA for cadets who had originally failed, missed, or wanted to get a better score than the official PFA. This make-up PFA was held the same way as the first PFA. For cadets who took the make-up PFA, the score was recorded as the final PFA score, regardless of whether it was higher or lower than the original score. For virtual-only cadets, there was also a make-up PFA, but it was optional even if cadets didn’t pass.
Cadets have a variety of ways to improve their scores on the FA, but most importantly according to C/Maj Hermoso, cadets have to be consistent with their workouts to see an improvement. He explains,
“Performing many good workouts does not equate to better scores if they're done sporadically. Set a goal for yourself, make a plan to achieve it, and stick to your plan as best as you can. No matter how small your workouts are, your scores will get better as long as there is an improvement plan. Be sure to supplement your plan with a good diet, proper hydration, and sufficient rest too! Good luck cadets!”
C/Maj Hermoso also recommends:
“If you're worried about not meeting push-up/sit-up minimums for an FA, there is a short plan to help you achieve the standards. Begin by
performing half of your maximum reps in 60 seconds on the first day. For every day after, strive to add at least 1-5 more reps to what you did the day before.”
By: C/4C Guclu, C/4C Gustave
As the school year went on, there were many events that Detachment 045 cadets attended. One example is the weekly GLP sessions which were hosted by C/Capt Werer. The purpose of GLPs, which stands for Group Leadership Problem, is to prepare cadets for Field Training and to improve leadership skills.
In an interview with C/Capt Werer, the FTP Director of Training, he gives his take on the GLPs and their importance. He is motivated by a couple of items: (1) The fact that GLP-like-activities occur during a majority of the time at FT. (2) It allows for cadets who don't naturally or currently have a strong leadership/command presence to step out of their comfort zone and lead as that is what a cadet will not only be doing at FT but also their time as a POC and as an officer. (3) Hosting GLPs and seeing the cadets have fun while developing their leadership skills is extremely rewarding.
C/Capt Werer continues by stating what he wants the cadets to get the most out of the GLPs. He wants the cadets to be able “to step up and lead.” He says,
“One of the biggest points of improvement that I often see in GMC (and even brand new POC) is that GMC and or new POC are often afraid to lead a group of people to do something. I was one of those GMC so I want to provide an opportunity for GMC who are like how I used to be, to practice that hidden leadership that I know they have. Like I mentioned above, leadership is a necessary skill to be a successful POC/officer, and the turn around from GMC to POC is drastic. So the earlier GMC can excel at leading, the better off they will be when they go to FT/enter the POC.”
C/Capt Werer then goes onto explain why he thinks GLPs are important. GLPs are important because cadets, “spend a majority of [their] time at FT dealing with GLP like activities.” He notices,
“the more time you spend leading and practicing GLPs as a GMC, the better off you will be at FT. Furthermore, GMC often spends so much time worrying about doing what you are told (from your fellow GMC, FLT/CCs, POC, etc.) that GMC often does not realize and practice the
importance of leading. Then, they reach the POC core and they are completely blindsided by the amount of leadership, responsibility, and more freedom that comes with their POC position. I believe that GLPs help sharpens those hidden leadership qualities that they often don't get to practice as a GMC/during normal PMT hours.”
C/Capt Werer finishes by stating how effective he thinks the GLPs are since there
has been a
visible improvement in many GMC in terms of their abilities to lead a group of people. Furthermore, the last few GLPs were heavily FT inspired. In other words, cadets had “a taste of what FT will be like in terms of the GLP like activities that occur down there in Maxwell.” He states,
“Hopefully, it translates into a smoother FT experience and easier GMC to POC transition. Additionally, the GLPs are a time for the GMC to develop and bond with each other, both because they are working together during the GLPs and because they are fun! I can see how they have got closer throughout the semester through these GLP sessions.”
Mountain Mike’s Fundraiser
By: C/4C Moreno, C/4C Taylor
On Saturday, 14 November 2020, Air Corps Leadership Club had its first fundraiser of the year at Mountain Mike’s Pizza. Cadets were invited to buy some pizza for themselves and their family, and when they mentioned the Air Corps leadership club, they would get 20% of their purchase donated back to the club.
Cadets were invited to go to a park nearby the SJSU campus to eat their pizza and have some fun socializing with other cadets. Initially, the cadets were eating at a table in the dark but soon decided to move to the baseball field where there was light. There, cadets would discuss everything from field training to their favorite trees. Technical Sergeant Garcia even made an appearance, bringing some extra pizza for cadets to enjoy. (Thank you, Sergeant Garcia!) After a few enjoyable hours of joking around and eating pizza, everyone went home with some more good memories and a great end of the semester morale event.
Life as an IMT Virtual Cadet
By: C/4C Heck, C/4C Krolicki
For some cadets, even a small sense of normalcy is out of reach-literally. Cadets
living outside of the San Jose area must complete every LLAB via zoom, creating some
extremely long days in front of the computer. Each week that LLAB is held in-person,
cadets attend MULLAB the following week from 0600-0800 before their regularly scheduled LLAB and AS class. For cadets who have had ample experience doing in-person ROTC events, their online status is a mere inconvenience. However, for the 100s and 250s who are learning the basics of drill, ORI, FDE, and more, this inconvenience becomes much more daunting.
Doing an FDE via a drill simulator is as strange as it seems. Performing basic facing movements on your bedroom carpet is much harder than it sounds. Cadets continuously make diagrams, describe drills, and get quizzed on how many inches their steps should be, but until they’ve performed it, it’s hard to understand. The fears of many virtual 100s and 250s are that they will be expected to perfectly perform the basics of drill, ORI, and FDE as soon as they step foot on campus, but unless it's a verbal quiz, most virtual cadets are at a loss. Small things like verbiage, calling cadence, etc. are overlooked, and understandably! Things that should be second nature to cadets are not... and it’s scary.
Detachment 045 has done an excellent job in trying to fit everybody's needs; after all,
“the key to airpower is flexibility.”
However, there is only so much the detachment can do; until everyone is on campus, ROTC life will never be the same. Some flight members are in person and receiving a completely different experience in comparison to virtual cadets. The feeling of being introduced to a program via zoom makes it hard to grasp what AFROTC entails. Hopefully, these worries will go away soon, and virtual cadets can finally meet the people they’ve been seeing on their screens.