Northern Michigan University Army ROTC cadets have continued their military training while waiting for updates on the uncertain future of the program.
The cadets spent Saturday at the Forestville Trailhead in Marquette Township on a training exercise that they designed themselves. They reported for it at 4:00 a.m, and they couldn’t relax until after debriefing Saturday night.
“(It was) 16 hours of just running around and learning how to fulfill the tasks and the duties that an actual officer’s going to fulfill,” Bravo Company Officer Cadet Benjamin Carlson said. “We did everything from minute tasks to actual operations of finding and searching for people.”
“We really try to use as much of the training area as possible,” Battalion Commander Cadet Thomas Molteni said. “We try to challenge our cadets with both the terrain, the difficult weather that we have this time of year and extended movements, long days.”
The cadets we spoke with were very happy that the Army has given the battalion a reprieve of at least a year, and they were especially pleased for the younger cadets.
“A lot of the MS1s and 2s are very ecstatic that they have the opportunity to come back and stay around,” Cadet Carlson said. “It’s a good chance for us to prove to the U.S. Army that we are an organization that provides quality officers.”
“The factors that they used in their decision-making didn’t really do the battalion that we have here justice,” Cadet Molteni said. “They tend to base a lot of their decisions off of quantity and numbers.”
The Wildcat Battalion and 12 other Army ROTC programs nationwide were recently scheduled to close in 2015. NMU’s program currently has 65 cadets and has produced nearly 400 officers over the years.