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AFROTC Field Training LRC compels cadets to lead, follow or get out of the way

An Air Force ROTC cadet works his way through one of the obstacles on the Leadership Reaction Course

An Air Force ROTC cadet works his way through one of the obstacles on the Leadership Reaction Course, June 23, 2021, at the Field Training encampment at Mississippi Army National Guard’s Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. The LRC is a series of obstacles that challenges cadets’ leadership and followership skills, problem-solving acumen and physical abilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christian P. Hodge)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.-- A critical element of the Air Force ROTC Field Training encampment curriculum is the Leadership Reaction Course.

The LRC is a series of obstacles that challenge cadets’ leadership and followership skills, problem-solving acumen and physical abilities.

Teams of cadets rotate through the obstacles. At the start of each obstacle, a cadet is selected as the team leader who will guide the rest of the team as they solve their way through it. AFROTC cadre grade the team leader on his or her leadership attributes and give feedback on the areas needing improving.

“There are five graded areas that they are being evaluated on,” said Capt. Joseph Brown, LRC standards and evaluations squadron officer-in-charge. “Field training has been an eye-opening experience, watching cadets transform through the adversity and challenges they are put through over the course of two weeks.”

The 2021 Field Training encampment was held at the Mississippi Army National Guard’s Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, May 16-July 31. Several groups of cadets cycled through Field Training, with each cycle lasting two weeks.  

Brown was one of more than a 450 AFROTC team members helping more than 3,400 cadets complete the congressionally mandated Field Training program. He is the operations flight commander at Detachment 820, Texas Tech University.

“Field Training has been a developmental experience for me, understanding what it means to be a company grade officer, making tough calls at times, holding the standard and watching our cadet training assistants and non-commissioned officers grow as leaders in the process,” said Brown. “All the while ensuring the cadets going through Field Training are getting trained and evaluated to become Professional Officer Course cadets when they graduate.”

Air Force ROTC Field Training is often compared to a deployment, with a lack of amenities, long hours and oppressing humidity and heat. However, the officer, enlisted and cadet training assistant cadre found the experience rewarding and meaningful.

“Field training was great. We stood up the standards and evaluation squadron for the first time at this year’s Field Training. It brought a lot of challenges and opportunities for problem solving, which I thoroughly enjoy,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Miller, the LRC non-commissioned officer-in-charge and administration NCOIC at University of Delaware AFROTC Detachment 128.

“The LRC provides cadets an opportunity to test leadership. While it seems like completing the obstacle would be the focus, it really is how the cadets build their teams, solve problems and react to stress,” he said.

For more information on AFROTC, go to www.afrotc.com.

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