ROTC roundup: Keystone training

The Pride of PA Battalion spent its weekend rolling around in the mud and grime at the Keystone Training Area. The Battalion fueled a fun weekend of team building, esprit de corps and providing juniors the tools they needed to take on warrior forge.

The activities list was quite long.

On Friday, the cadets arrived at KTA ready to embrace the fun that had yet to come. Saturday started bright and early and upon rising, it was time to march everywhere throughout the day. Everyone stared their morning with hot chow, then the juniors broke off to qualify for marksmanship.

Freshmen and sophomores decided to touch up their rifle skills and received training from the seniors on how to appropriately assemble, disassemble, load, unload and fire a weapon. Training was completed with M16A2 assault rifles. Once concluded, the underclassmen were ready to tackle the range. Each cadet fired two 20-round magazines of the M16A2 assault rifle and one nine-round magazine of the M9 pistol.

While the juniors were off doing land navigation, the freshmen and sophomores marched over to the repel tower to take on the next challenge of the day. Before going on the tower, a couple of seniors put on a safety exhibition that made everyone laugh and ease their tensions about the step over the 50 foot tower. Cadets were trained on how to properly wear a harness before going down the tower.

Once on the tower, cadet motivation soared. Each cadet was excited to go down the tower and take the next step to becoming that much more army ready.

“It was my first time ever rappelling,” freshman Eric Pelosi said. “I was a little nervous, but it was worth the excitement!”

After the completion of the tower, it was time for the juniors to conduct night land navigation while the underclassmen were given training in areas such as building overnight shelters from a poncho and rope and how to search an Enemy Prisoner of War. Once training was complete, the IV’s put on a skit to help demonstrate all that was learned through training and to try and provide some base of knowledge for what is going on in Afghanistan today.

Sunday was the last day at KTA and all were ready for the last events of the weekend. The juniors took part in situational training exercise lanes while the freshman and sophomores got to play force-on force-paintball.

Force-on-force seemed to be the most fun of all, combining the training learned from the previous two days to turn cadets into highly motivated paintball playing machines. Missions were assigned and carried out.

But at the end of the day it seemed Mercyhurst led the way.