Twenty-nine cadets and one cadre from Shippensburg University’s Raider Battalion flew off to Fort Dawson, W.Va., last Thursday for their annual joint field training exercise.
At approximately 11:30 a.m., two CH-47 Chinook helicopters, flown by the Pennsylvania National Guard took off from the soccer field near Fogelsonger Road.
According to www.boeing.com, each Chinook helicopter is capable of carrying 33 individuals and when empty weighs about 23,401 pounds.
Gene Mizdail, an ROTC enrollment officer, estimated that if the helicopters flew straight from Shippensburg University to Fort Dawson, the fight would only take about an hour, but last Thursday’s flight stopped at Indiana University of Pennsylvania to pick up more cadets.
The joint field training exercise prepares cadets for their Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) held each summer.
The course is held in Fort Lewis, Wash., taking place after the junior year of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.
Five other ROTC programs are participating in the exercise. Those participating programs include schools such as IUP as previously mentioned, Edinboro University, University of Pittsburgh, Gannon University and Slippery Rock University.
At the completion of the exercise on March 31, the 29 cadets and Todd Eisenhuth, the accompanying cadre from the Raider Battalion, drove back to the Shippensburg campus.
The SU ROTC program was first started in 1981 and within those 30 years the program has commissioned 457 cadets to the rank of second lieutenant.