Thursday, March 15, 2007

ROTC Cadets Practice Combat Tactics, Students train for realistic combat situations using Airsoft weapons

Cal State Fullerton's ROTC cadets gathered at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base to participate in a training exercise and a day of fun.

The cadets practiced their tactics in an urban setting. The Military Operations on Urban Terrain facility consisted of an empty neighborhood of two-story buildings that allowed the cadets to maneuver and train in a dynamic environment.

"It gives them a more realistic view of what they are actually going to be doing," said Rory Patterson, 27, business major. "When we train on campus, there are no real obstacles there. If you are thinking of the majority of deployments in the world right now, they are in an urban environment. It's nice to be able to come out here and train in scenarios you're actually going to face."

Patterson is among the seniors who observed and instructed the younger cadets during the course of their training.

The cadets used Airsoft guns in the training exercise that allow them to literally feel when they made a mistake. The guns, which shoot plastic pellets, allowed the cadets to get into simulated firefights with opposing forces. The guns also provided an element of fun.

The guns helped cadets simulate combat that they might face after

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graduation. The use of Airsoft brings the training to a new level.

While cadets from previous semesters had used paintball guns, the ROTC program decided to give the pellet guns a try.

"We used to do paintball but it got so expensive as we started to increase in cadets," Lt. Col. William Howard said. "It was too expensive. This is much easier. Even though we are doing tactics and making it more realistic, it's also primarily just for fun. They love this."

"Our original plan was paintball, but we didn't have enough funds for that," said Freddie Do, 24, business major. "We decided to spend a one-time deal of $1600 on the Airsoft guns for more realistic training."

Do said the training exercises would help cadets hone their skills, learn how to move from building to building, and clear rooms when opposing forces are in them.

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