With COVID-19 canceling important fundraising events, retreats, morning training, marches and in-person training, ROTC members take a hard hit with the difficult changes they have to deal with.
Since multiple events including PT training and their three-day retreat FTX are cancelled, the question of what ROTC members are doing comes up. Physical training isn’t really something that can be tested online and missing out on three months of it wasn’t part of the plan.
“This is affecting us because it is cancelling events and halting our training since we can’t meet face to face.” Kyle Raynard, senior cadet said. “It’s cancelled our fundraising events, making it harder to do future events in the program with no funds.”
Their annual 5K run was completely cancelled, which was one of their biggest fundraising events of the year. The funds would’ve gone towards future supplies, retreats, trips and transportation; now, members must rely solely on funding from the University, which isn’t enough.
Not only does this affect future events, it also doesn’t properly prepare members who are graduating this semester with the proper training they need. Seniors now feel less confident going into camp in the summer and training would’ve prepared them for that.
“We have no organized PT but we should be doing it on our own.” Joseph Oleksiak, senior public affairs officer, said. “All the gyms are closed so I’ve been doing a lot of running outside and body weight exercises.”
There aren’t a lot of experienced juniors next year and FTX would’ve been the event to catch them up on everything. However, the challenge now is communicating with them without actual hands-on experience.
It becomes harder to train for hands-on labs that require members to actually be there but instructors and seniors are working on these changes and hoping members can still get the best training possible given the circumstances. They now have morning labs to attend, but a lot of it is simply just the lecture.
Morning labs usually would’ve consisted of seniors leading the underclassmen in real world experiences, such as a platoon attack and defense lab, but now the lectures don’t do hands-on experiences justice. The uniform, the weapons and even the outside environment all played a role in the labs, yet now staring at a computer screen seems like the only answer to get some experience.
Bridget Lin covers ROTC and military. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.