ROTC cadets shed uniforms for security measures

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, to Monday, Sept. 19, the Pride of PA Army ROTC Battalion conducted a test of increasing its security posture.

It implemented its force protection measures as prescribed in Army Regulation (AR) 525-13: “Anti-terrorism Force Protection: Security of Personnel, Information and Critical Resources,” which resulted in all ROTC personnel not wearing uniforms or anything that may identify them as being involved with ROTC.

This also created a heightened sense of situational awareness at ROTC events and classes throughout the duration of the test.

Master Sergeant Frank Rand, a military science (MS) level I and II instructor at Gannon University and Mercyhurst College, said, “This is not a big deal. There was a real threat present somewhere in the country, but for our purposes, this was only a drill since there was absolutely no real threat to Mercyhurst, Gannon or Penn State Behrend. As far as I know, every school in the country [with ROTC] was conducting the same drill.”

According to Rand, this drill was “an opportunity to exercise our force protection in order to lessen the ROTC/military ‘footprint’ within the campus. In the event there would have been a real threat, we would have been prepared.”

Moreover, Rand describes these measures as nothing more than “good crime prevention techniques. Knowing what belongs and what doesn’t belong. It’s about buddy teams, going in pairs and taking care of your buddies. In case something happens to one of you, you take care of each other. It’s about common sense crime prevention and team work.”

Although there are different measures that can be put into effect as prescribed by AR 525-13, Rand said that, “Quite frankly, we don’t have a lot of authority here. It’s not like a military base where you own everything, and so we increase security with good crime prevention techniques and common sense.”

Senior James Gallagher, a cadet and MS IV at Mercyhurst College appreciated the drill.

“I thought it was strange at first, and I had some questions about why we were doing this. But in the end I think it was a good drill to exercise the cadets’ situational awareness, both on and off campus. When we cadets become officers in the real army, I’m sure we are going to have to use force protection measures at some point in our careers. It’s good we are getting a taste of it in college,” he said.