The Institute Report, June 2013, Page 19
Air Force ROTC Trains at ‘Horseghanistan’
VMI’s Air Force ROTC unit
launched Spring Field Training
Exercises Friday, April 5, with
an Air Force Combat Dining In
featuring a talk by Col. Albert
Tucker, a World War II fighter
pilot, instructing cadets about the
importance of proper training and
the combat environment.
Cadets began the training
portion of their exercise early
Saturday morning with a simulated
deployment designed to mirror
real-world operations. The cadets
deployed in “chalks” – incremental
groups – for the 2 ½-mile hike to
their simulated Forward Operating
Base, affectionately named “Horseghanistan” by the cadets, but known
to the everyone else as the Virginia Horse Center. There, the cadets
learned lessons in how to survive and operate in austere and sometimes
hostile environments. Specific lessons included self-aid, buddy care,
unexploded device recognition, land navigation, and small unit tactics.
In the evening, cadets were put to the test with a simulated attack. The
4th and 3rd class cadets maintained the simulated base defense while
their 2nd and 1st class leaders kept them on their toes.
On Sunday, the 3rd Class cadets put their previous day’s training to use
by conducting all operations. They defended, responded, and reacted
to various simulated situations such as local rioting, interactions with
local leaders, insurgent attacks,
and even a simulated air attack.
Additionally, cadets conducted
operations such as food retrieval
and rescuing downed pilots while
facing an enemy armed to the teeth
with paintball guns. By the end
of the day, the cadets had gained
valuable experience in situational
leadership under pressure. The
cadets redeployed to Kilbourne Hall,
where they experienced simulated
On Monday, 4th, 2nd, and 1st
class cadets took a trip to Langley
Air Force Base at Hampton, Va.
Here they met with Air Force
company grade officers serving in a variety of careers. Afterward, the
cadets were briefed by the commander of the 1st Fighter Wing, saw an
F-22 Raptor, and received tours from the Air Force’s Ordnance Disposal
Team attached with the 633rd Air Base Wing, as well as the 480th
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing.
During this time, 3rd Class cadets preparing for Air Force Field
Training traveled to the Goose Creek Adventure Course in Bedford,
Va., where they received lessons in leadership and followership on the
Leadership Reaction Courses.
On Tuesday, the Field Training Exercise wrapped up with more
leadership reaction courses and a drill competition.
Air Force cadets engaged in simulated operations
during Spring FTX.
– Photo courtesy of Air Force ROTC.
Green Once More
A new finish on the roof of Jackson Memorial Hall, completed in late April,
extends the life of the roof while restoring the building’s historical appearance.
While the roof had most recently been painted gray, the new green finish
reflects the color originally used on the roof to resemble aged copper.
Refinishing the 4,400-square-foot roof came at a cost of $30,000, and the
coating is expected to last at least 10 years.
– VMI Photos by John Robertson IV
and Paul Ackerman ’93.