ROTC stomping grounds

The front of the Army ROTC building located across from the Ogden campus.

Weber State University’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program aims to equip its candidates with the knowledge and physical fitness necessary for them to pursue a career in the U.S. military, should that be a route cadets choose to embark on.

At the base of the Army ROTC’s program are its early-morning physical training sessions and its engaging classroom environment. In order to make sure the cadets in the program remain conditioned and in good physical shape, all cadets are tasked with attending three physical training sessions throughout the week.

The PT sessions, held at 6 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, are heavily focused on building endurance and strength in the cadets. Each week, a different third-year cadet is tasked with writing the week’s workout routines.

The PT program each week commences with the week’s leader, giving the rest of the cadets the order of operation. The order of operation entails the week’s platoon leader explaining the day’s workout to the cadets and what they can expect for the rest of the week.

A Monday PT session observed by The Signpost began with a group stretching session that saw the cadets lined up in columns following the instructions of another cadet at the front who shouted out different stretch positions and led the tempo of the routine.

Following the stretch routine, the cadets broke into groups and started the day’s workout, which was done in a circuit-training style. The day’s routine included T-pushups, pike pushups, planks and snow angels. After completing these movements, cadets would then run a lap around the Swenson gym and repeat the circuit four more times.

After each group had finished their circuits, the cadets lined up for a sprint relay race, which saw the cadets sprinting from one end of the gym to the other and back, tagging in the next one on their team to do the same. The winning team earned a break, while the other losing teams ran another lap around the gym.

The WSU Army ROTC knows that physical aptitude is only a small portion of what’s needed to prepare a cadet for contracting with the Army. Learning about U.S. Army fundamentals and operations is also prioritized in the program. During the ROTC’s classroom sessions, cadets are taught how their activity in the ROTC relates to real-life U.S. Army contexts.

“Anywhere else in college, you go to a class and you don’t really know the names of anyone else in the class,” Matthew Millburn, a WSU ROTC second-year cadet and energy engineering major, said. “I’ve been in energy engineering for three years now. There are kids I’ve been in class with since freshman year and I still don’t know their names, but in ROTC, on the first day, you get welcomed in, you go into class and you know everything about everybody. It’s super positive.”