ND Field Training Exercise (NDFTX)
The ND FTX is an event focused on developing sophomores (MSIIs) as leaders in preparation for their upcoming year as juniors (MSIIIs) in the battalion. Freshmen (MSI) cadets also receive their first taste of what upper-classmen responsibility is like, all in a controlled and fun environment. Our ND FTXs are usually held in April and have been conducted on training areas near Culver, Indiana and at the Camp Atterbury (Indiana) Joint Maneuver Training Center in recent years.
The cadets conduct their activities in groups called squads, each of which is composed of about 8 squad members. Being a squad leader is a true learning experience, as one sophomore commented, “Being in a command position was definitely a great experience. You definitely learn a lot from having to be the one to give orders and make things happen.”
One of the most important events of the FTX is land navigation. Cadets are given a set amount of time, grid coordinates, and a map to navigate with. Cadets practice their compass skills to properly follow the magnetic azimuth (direction) and utilize a pace count to measure the distance they have travelled.
Another important team and leadership building event is the Squad Training Exercise, or the STX lane. In each STX lane the squad leader uses critical thinking to assess information and develop a plan, and then leads his or her squad in exeucting the plan amidst variables and rapidly changing situations. Cadre oversee each STX lane and provide individual feedback and mentorship to squad leaders as they learn through experience how to lead others in stressful situations.