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Click HERE for our latest Newsletter! (Fall 2019)
A note from our PMS, LTC Brian Ferguson
I waited to send this newsletter out until after Army Night at Progressive Field, but in hindsight I think I could have published two separate newsletters covering all of the amazing things the battalion has done in recent weeks and months.
Cadet Summer Training (CST) was a success for all of our cadets. As you read in subsequent pages, the cadets learned a lot and travelled extensively before and after spending time at Fort Knox. CST is the largest single training event that the Army holds each year. Our cadets and I were a part of it. However, I didn’t fully realize the coincidence of my position until I was driving home from camp. I represented JCU as the Transportation Branch Chief for CST. I’m pretty sure no one at Cadet Command associated JCU with its Transportation Corps heritage; I certainly didn’t make the connection until later. While I have served for 20 years now as a Field Artillery officer, I feel akin to those graduates of the program who served in the Transportation Corps. I salute you all. It’s truly a tough job and someone has to do it.
This summer we finalized the renewal of the formal agreement between Cadet Command and John Carroll University. The previous document had not been updated for over thirty years. The significance of the agreement is that it forms the basis for all of our agreements with our partner and affiliate schools in our battalion.
Starting my second year as the PMS has afforded me some perspective. We’re doing a lot of things very well. Our social media outreach, branding, and planning a rigorous, but professional academic year are some of the things that come to mind. That perspective also allows me to look at the program and see where we need to improve. Two areas that need emphasis are Basic Rifle Marksmanship and our preparation for the Army’s new Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). The ACFT will replace the legacy test of push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run which has been the test of record for a long time. The new test retains a two-mile run, but it will occur after stations like deadlifts, hanging leg tucks, hand-release pushups, medicine ball throws and the ‘sprint-drag-carry.’ After having taken it, I can honestly say that we will soon be producing an Army of very fit Soldiers. Starting this fall and continuing in the spring we will incorporate these events into our fitness regimen.
The second area where we need to improve is on Basic Rifle Marksmanship. We were able to get to a rifle range last spring at Camp James A. Garfield (formerly Ravenna Arsenal), however some cadets continued to struggle at summer camp. In the regular Army, low scores would mean spending more time putting lead down range. However, in a resource- and time-constrained environment, we don’t have that luxury. To combat this training shortfall, I intend to install a non-firing, laser range simulator in the basement of the ROTC house. MSG Achterberg and I were able to check out one at Fort Knox. It won’t be free for us, but it could mean sending experts and sharpshooters to camp and eventually to Army units instead of marksman or unqualified shooters. Leaders need to lead in all aspects of Soldiering. This is where I will need your help. The system will cost a little over $4,000 to fully implement. We need to purchase the software and a laser-equipped rifle (or two) from the company. On our end, we need to build or purchase a standalone computer, purchase a projector, a screen, and do some minor work to prep the basement. Please know this is not a capital campaign being run from Military Science. The costs are directly related to our curriculum and the long term success of our graduates. The department will pay for it with or without support, but if you’re interested in helping us achieve the goal faster, please don’t hesitate to join our effort. When we’re done, you can even come by and test your skills.
Thank you all for your continued and unwavering support of our various programs and initiatives. I mean it when I say, this is our battalion. To our alumni, thank you for sending in your pictures, stories, and desire to connect. Please continue to send them in. The Pershing Rifles room continues to gain artifacts, but I still have wall space if you have something you want to share. This year our battalion has swelled to over 70 cadets. While that might mean greater logistical requirements or more paperwork, the entire team here welcomes it. Our only consequence is finding larger spaces for our morning PT formation and a larger patrol base when we go to the field.