Fall 2021 saw the expansion of UCI Army ROTC, as the program welcomed the addition of about 30 new cadets. By joining the program, these cadets have gained unique knowledge and experience as students but also as Army cadets. One of the major events that marked the start of our academic year was the Field Training Exercise (FTX) held during Fall quarter. As we continue our journey in this program and continue to gain new leadership skills and explore distinctive opportunities, we are really looking forward to growing and teaching students what it is to be full-time students and also ROTC cadets.  

 Fall FTX was a field training exercise that consisted of land navigation learning, basic rifle marksmanship, land navigation, and tactical squad size missions. FTX was a three-day-long event that took place November 19-21 at Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, CA. Cadets started day one with learning the basic skills of how to read a map and how to plot grid coordinates on a map. They also learned how to measure distance and direction by azimuth in order to travel and move from one point to another without using anything but a map, protractor, pencil, and compass. For about four hours, cadets participated in day land navigation training where they searched for four different points. They then went on to night land navigation where they had two hours to search for two different points.

On day two, cadets conducted a foot march to the rifle range in order to familiarize themselves with an M4, learning the basics of safety and how to properly shoot to get the best aiming results. For some cadets, this was their first time holding a rifle and shooting. Later in the day, cadets went over the basic knowledge for tactical missions such as preparing for a patrol base. They also prepared for day-three operations, which included a squad reconnaissance and a movement to contact. The overall purpose of FTX is to start preparing cadets in tactical scenarios, particularly third-year students who are preparing for Advance Camp in the summer at Fort Knox, Kentucky. These students take important leadership positions that can be stressful at times, and experiences like these help them stay motivated through adversity. 

Speaking on the Fall 2021 FTX event, Cadet Lee said:

“My first FTX helped me gain so much experience that I learned during my first quarter of lab and lecture. By performing missions while learning squad tactics skills from the MS3s and MS4s, I was able to better understand what it would be like in an actual mission. I feel like FTX has made me a stronger person both mentally and physically. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in FTX and learn from other cadets.”

 Cadet Almarez added:

“I liked how much self-discipline and motivation it took to just keep going through FTX. I could have easily given up on any of the rucks or land navigation exercises, but it was more important that I learn what needed to be taught. Which I feel was more of the student in me than the soldier/cadet which at times was reluctant to even keep going. Overall, I can link a lot of my success to FTX’s and other events in ROTC that allow me to test my mental endurance as well as my drive to continue growing as a student and as an individual.”


Written by Cadet Public Affairs Officer Melanie Herrera. If you are interested in joining or learning a bit more about the program, email Melanie Herrera at melannmh1@uci.edu