Page 18,The Institute Report, June 2013
Navy and Marine Cadets Undergo Field Training
The Naval ROTC Spring 2013
Field Training Exercise April 6-9
offered an opportunity for cadets to
practice peer leadership, broaden
their understanding of the Navy/
Marine Corps team capabilities,
and strengthen the camaraderie
between Navy- and Marine Corps-
option cadets.Following two days
of intense leadership practicals
held in Mallory Hall, five ROTC staff
officers accompanied 147 Navy-
option cadets and three VMI staff
members to Naval Station Norfolk
for two days of ship, aircraft, and
The cadets toured the guided
missile destroyer USS
and guided missile cruiser USS
. Cadets interested in special
warfare visited Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek to observe Naval
special operations followed by intensive training at the Naval Special
Warfare Group Two water obstacle course. Those interested in aviation
toured and utilized full-motion flight simulators with an F-18 and CH-53
squadron at Naval Air Station Oceana.
Following a full day, the cadets experienced a night in cramped
shipboard berthing, with the 1st Class on the guided missile cruiser
and the remaining cadets on the amphibious transport
docking ship USS
On Tuesday, the cadets toured the nuclear aircraft carriers USS
George H.W. Bush
. Later, the cadets experienced
being “underway” in a submarine dive trainer and bridge team trainer
before packing their gear and heading back to Lexington.
The cadets were impressed with the variety of weapons, radars, and
missile systems, but the exercise primarily reinforced for them that
people, not systems, are what make
the U.S. Navy such a capable war-
The 141 Marine Corps-option
cadets conducted their FTX across
an 11,600-acre training area in
Rockbridge County, including the
Virginia Horse Center, McKethan
Park, and Col. Woody Sadler’s
The cadets were split into
three maneuver elements and
rotated to a new training location
every morning. These rotations
amounted to 25-30 miles of hiking
under a 60-pound combat load.
At the horse center, they
conducted both day and night land
navigation through densely wooded
and hilly terrain. At McKethan
Park, they conducted preparation for the platoon-level operations that
would be conducted on Sadler’s property and had discussions with
guest speakers about life in the Marine Corps. At Sadler’s property, the
cadets conducted platoon-sized deliberate attacks and defenses utilizing
paintball equipment to drive home principles of fire team maneuver.
The platoons then entered a force-on-force nighttime patrolling
phase where they operated continuously from a patrol base in which
they focused on patrol base operations, nighttime reconnaissance, and
The four-day training evolution culminated with a live-fire combat
marksmanship-style exercise utilizing M-4 service rifles on VMI’s live
fire range at North Post.
The Naval ROTC Spring FTX benefited from the full support of local
enterprises and individuals, waterside assets of the U.S. Navy, and
significant logistical support from VMI.
Marine-option cadets conduct field training.
– Photo courtesy of Naval ROTC.
Continued from page 11
Noll is likewise pleased that the two major out-of-town trips went off
without a hitch. “We had zero accountability problems,” he reported.
“As far as the big items, we did them great.”
Not surprisingly, Noll said that his memories of President Barack
Obama’s second inauguration will last a lifetime.
“That was an incredible experience,” he said. “No matter what your
political affiliations are, to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and eyes
left on the president of the United States is a pretty awesome experience.”
More sobering, though, were the moments when Noll felt the burden
of responsibility for the 1,600 men and women under his command.
“There are times you sit out in front of the entire Corps, [and] …
you are moving all of these individuals and you are ultimately in charge
not only of their health and well-being but also how they conduct
themselves,” said Noll.
Noll also had the responsibility of giving the cadet report to the Board
of Visitors at its quarterly meetings, but he quickly found that body to be
a generous audience. “They’re really welcoming,” Noll said. “It’s not a
After graduation, Noll left post as all graduating cadets do – but he
won’t be gone long. In July, he’ll return as assistant commandant for
operations, helping to fill the gap left by the temporary absence of Col.
Mitch Fridley, who will be studying at the Army War College in Carlisle
Barracks, Pa., next year. In late March or early April 2014, Noll will
leave VMI once again, this time bound for Marine Corps training.
Staying on post, though, he’ll get a chance to see the change in
leadership in a way that few former regimental first captains do.
“I’m excited to see what 2014 will do,” he noted. “I’m not going to
hold any hard feelings if [Bishop] changes anything. It’s his opportunity
to run the Corps as he sees fit. I’m excited to see where he goes with it.
I think the class of 2014 is in a very good spot to further the Institute.”