Cornell University Army ROTC

Fall 2008 Newsletter














Cadets Discuss their Summer Experiences




                Rope Fast, Land Hard Fight: AIR ASSAULT!


By CDT Marion


                “Beat yo’ face” were the first words I ever heard from an Air Assault Sergeant, and standing on the tarmac at 0400 hours, I couldn’t quite puzzle out exactly what he meant.  “Why are you still standing Air Assault?”  I dropped down to the front leaning rest, and started trying to push the world away.


Those first few minutes indicated the intensity of training that I would receive at The Sabalauski Air Assault School.  I was chosen to go to Air Assault School because I had performed well academically, trained hard physically, and applied myself vigorously in the Cornell Army ROTC program.  Unfortunately, all the academic prowess and physical training didn’t measure up when confronted with the hard reality of the Air Assault Sergeants.  As was explained to me when I arrived, the Air Assault School was going to “expand my circle of comfort.”  I was in for two long, hard weeks.


PT was one of the defining aspects of Air Assault School.  We started each day with seventy-five minutes of PT.  Then, after breakfast, we did more PT.  Usually, before lunch and following lunch we would PT again, and then before we left for the day we would do PT once more.  The Air Assault Sergeants had a special word for these intense PT sessions.  They called it getting “smoked.”  Smoking invariably involved an easy exercise taken to the extreme, 100’s of side-straddle hops or flutter kicks.  After a couple days no one could keep up with the Air Assault Sergeants, but the Air Assault Sergeants wanted to emphasize an important message.  They did not care that we couldn’t do the exercises, because the exercises were designed to be impossible.  The Air Assault Sergeants did care, however, that you gave your best, every moment of every day.  And if you didn’t, they dragged it out of you or you failed.


The purpose of Air Assault School was to orient Soldiers and Cadets to Air Assault Operations.  The school was divided into three phases, the Air Assault Operation phase, the Sling Load Phase, and the Rappelling phase.  During the Operation Phase, students memorized the specifications and data for various rotor-wing aircraft, studied how to properly prepare landing zones and pickup zones, and were instructed in the proper way to plan and conduct an Air Assault mission.  Students learned how to properly prepare and inspect sling loads (rigging used to attach cargo to the bottom of rotor-wing aircraft) during the Sling Load phase, and at the end we were tested on the proper inspection of five different slings loads.  During these phases, we studied each night when we returned to the Barracks, memorizing endless technical data and procedures.

The most enjoyable phase of Air Assault School was the Rappelling phase.  We each conducted 12 rappels from a sixty foot tower, with and without combat gear, which consisted of a rifle, rucksack, and LBE. The culmination of the rappelling phase was rappelling out of a UH-60 Blackhawk, an experience I won’t soon forget.


While the course not always a walk in the park, the people that I met there made it worth the effort.  After the hardest days nothing compared to eating in the dining facility with my comrades, comparing notes on which PT session was the most grueling, or on which Air Assault Sergeant was the most fearsome.  Every morning I woke up to the sound of CDT Cantrell waking another Cadet in a high a girlish voice with, “Good Morning Swedburg!”  I learned Spades from a Combat Engineer and Euchre from a Cadet from South Dakota. For those fourteen days we became a unit, we worked as a team, and we only succeeded through our support for each other.  When my strength flagged during the culminating 12 mile road march, my buddy CDT Mullen kept me going.  Nothing was a greater luxury than having a friend in the midst the pain and the stress, and when I felt fear on the rappelling tower his encouragement gave me the strength to succeed. The most important lesson that I learned during Air Assault School was that when you are doing something with and for your buddies, almost anything is bearable.


Although I can’t say that my time at Air Assault School was the most fun I’ve ever had, it certainly shaped my vision of who I wanted to be and what I was capable of.  I proved that I was tough enough to succeed where many in our class failed.  I learned valuable technical skills that I hope to apply in the Army, and I learned the value of the support and fellowship of my fellow Soldiers.  And the next time an Air Assault Sergeant tells me “I’ve got my wings, do you have your wings Air Assault?” I’ll point to the wings on my chest.



CDT Furey on Airborne


                My name is Dan Furey and I am currently a junior at Cornell University.  I am also a member of Army ROTC training to be a commissioned officer, a dream I have had for as long as I can remember.  Through ROTC I was able to attend the Army Airborne School this summer in Fort Benning Georgia. That experience was one of the most memorable and exhilarating experiences of my life.

I have wanted to be a paratrooper ever since I was in elementary school. It started as awe and as I grew up it turned into respect and gratitude. I started to study WWII and realized the incredible sacrifices and bravery that were needed to be an Airborne Soldier.  When I joined ROTC I found out that every year they offer 2 or 3 slots for Airborne school to those who prove themselves capable and worthy.  I was in pretty terrible shape when I joined and there would be no hope if I didn’t get close or beyond a perfect score on the Physical fitness test. I started working out as hard as I could. I volunteered for the Ranger Challenge team, and the Color Guard. I did my best in ROTC classes and eventually I began to gain competence in military skills, Knowledge and Physical Fitness. When the time came at the end of my sophomore year I scored 296 out of 300 on the PT test, a rise of over 80 points from when I started. I was recommended to receive a slot to Airborne school and finally the word came down that it was confirmed. All of my hard work and determination had paid off.


When I arrived at Fort Benning the airborne school I imagined and read about became a reality. Early morning runs, drill sergeants shouting cadence and orders, shuffling through the dining hall eating as fast as you can, running everywhere, and barracks filled with young men anticipating the long 3 weeks of training that was about to start. There were about 150 Cadets, half of which were West Pointers, 250 enlisted men and women and 50 each of NCOs Officers. Officers slept and ate off post but everyone else was mixed together in the barracks. I really enjoyed talking with the enlisted Soldiers who were right out of basic training, and in many cases had orders to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan within months of graduating airborne school and reporting to their unit. Some were very critical and resentful of cadets but for the most part they were just as curious about us as we were about them. I loved getting to know more about their experiences, backgrounds and how they viewed the Army and life in general. I feel like I understand and can relate to the enlisted corps of the Army in ways that I never could before. While we were training I also had a chance to talk to officers of all different branches who gave me great advice and provided information that I never would have heard back at school.


The training itself was long, monotonous, hot, and sometimes painful. We spent long days in the sun going over techniques again and again until we were perfect. It wasn’t fun at the time but I sure was glad we had done it when it came time to jump. Personally, I wasn’t nervous until we got in the plane. That was when I realized there was no turning back. We conducted 5 jumps, 2 with full combat gear, the final one with combat gear at night. I have never felt so good in my life than I did when I hit the ground safely on that final Jump. I knew I would graduate and that I earned my wings.


While at Airborne School I learned a great deal about how to properly rig my gear, load and exit an aircraft, land safely, pack my chute and get off the drop zone. I learned how to conquer fear and I built my self confidence. It was the most exhilarating thing I have ever done. I learned from the officers all about the opportunities I will have and what I should take advantage of and what I should stay away from. However I feel that the most valuable part of my experience was meeting the soldiers I plan to lead one day, hearing where they came from, how they view the army, especially officers, what motivates them and what doesn’t and  how I can be the best leader I can be for them. This will greatly enhance and improve my career with the army and my ability to lead effectively. Attending Airborne school may have been the only opportunity I will get to interact with these men the way I did and I can only hope I made the best of it. Every Cadet should have this opportunity and should make attending Airborne school one of their highest priorities.



Air Assault


By CDT Mullen


                Early one late July morning, while many Cornell students were laying in bed dreaming about the long, monotonous day that lay ahead of them at their numerous academic-related internships, I could have been found in Newark airport with a rucksack on my back and a duffel bag in hand. My destination was Fort Knox, Kentucky, and my orders stated that I was to attend the US Army Sabalauski Air Assault School.


This was the beginning of a task that I would soon find to be one of the more challenging experiences of my life. Upon arrival at Knox, after our garrison NCOIC and OIC ran PCI’s to ensure that my classmates and I would not get crucified by Air Assault instructors for missing essential items, I had the opportunity to settle into the barracks and get to know some of the guys in my bay. The assortment of individuals was notable, ranging from a goofball from VMI to a prior-enlisted Ranger who had his stuff locked in like nobody’s business. Despite our differences, we had all come to the hot and steamy Fort Knox to earn a pair of Air Assault wings. Unfortunately, on our first day of Air Assault (known as day zero), I saw that many of them would not succeed in this mission.



Zero day is arguably the most physically and mentally taxing day of Air Assault School. Starting at approximately 0400, my class, known as MTT0508, was called into a formation on a corner of a large blacktop. From here, we were called by rank to sprint to another corner and form up. However, we were given the instruction to shout “Air Assault!” every time that our left foot hit the ground. I wasn’t sure why this part was called “the gauntlet” until I saw the first rank in our formation start trucking towards the other end of the blacktop. About every 10 meters there stood an Air Assault instructor screaming for the traveling ranks to drop and start pumping out the “Air Assault Pushup,” which is simply a diamond pushup. After I made it past this task, I found myself standing in a formation waiting for my name to be called, upon which I was expected to sprint to where we had all started and fall into a company formation behind the 101st guidon.


Shortly thereafter, we were bussed out to the obstacle course, one of the most failure-prone parts of the Air Assault course. Prior to beginning the course, the Air Assault instructors put us into an extended formation and started physically working us under the rising Kentucky sun. This smoking was one of the most extensive that I have ever experienced. We then navigated the obstacle course, which was able to produce several drop slips. Afterwards, we were set off onto a two-mile run in ACU pants and t-shirts. While this sounds like a piece of cake sitting in an office chair, after the morning we had had, and with the now midday Kentucky heat, it was one heck of a run. After finishing the run, we were allowed to drink water, and were provided several standard issue smokings throughout the rest of the day as we were all introduced to the Air Assault way.


Following zero day we progressed into phase one, where we were trained in general air assault operations, aircraft capabilities and armaments, and pathfinder operations. This phase, as with zero day, was riddled with random and intense smoke sessions, or “body and soul” PT as the instructors called it. This led into phase two, which was also capable of producing multiple drop slips. Comprised of a written and practical exam, phase two was dedicated entirely to external load operations. In addition, phase two included a six-mile road march with a full packing list, which if nothing else, added onto the physical abuse of the smoke sessions and early morning PT sessions, which tested our ability to focus on technicalities while tired and sore.


Phase three, the rappelling phase, served as a great opportunity to work my endocrine system. We were first taught how to tie the Swiss rappel seat, which is essentially a rappel harness tied from several feet of 7/8 inch nylon rope. This added new pain to the “run everywhere” requirement of Air Assault. In my mind, you haven’t lived until you have seen a mass of men attempt to run (or waddle as it developed) in a tightly tied Swiss seat. As the phase progressed, students were taught to properly complete several styles of rappels, including Hollywood, wall, lock-in, combat lock-in and combat Hollywood. This culminated rappelling out of a UH-60 Blackhawk hovering around 90-100 feet above the ground.


Our final day of Air Assault started around 0200 as we prepared to complete the 12 mile ruck march. Well-aware of the fact that this was the final step in earning our wings, those of us who had survived the first three phases were feeling all sorts of hooah. While 12 miles of rucking with a full pack has a way of nipping at that hooah feeling, I was able to push through it by running out most of it, and by making use of some motivational and impromptu cadence calling- namely of the Christmas variety, with a good buddy. Just shy of three hours and 12 miles after we started rolling, I crossed the finish line, to be greeted by a brigadier general who grinned, looked me in the eye and said “good job son, you made it.”Ultimately, I came out of Air Assault with a firmer grip on the Army and with valuable skills. I look forward to bringing these skills to Cornell AROTC.














By CDT Evans


This past summer I was given the opportunity to attend a Cultural Immersion Internship with ROTC that was only available to rising MSIII’s. Along with 14 other cadets from around the U.S., I got to tour around the Slovak Republic for two weeks, and for a third week I had the amazing experience of training with the cadets at the Slovak Military Academy. The program was designed to get American cadets used to assimilating into cultures different than their own. The reason why we went to Slovakia was because Slovakia is trying to increase its political and military importance in the world so they volunteered to host us. It was the first trip of its kind that Cadet Command has hosted so it was very exciting.  In preparation for the trip all cadets had to each make and present a 15 minute presentation on a different topic on Slovakia which we presented to the other cadets when we all met up in D.C.. We also had to learn some Slovak because during the touring period, after 3pm we were basically turned lose in the cities and, other than hotel accommodations, we had to take care of ourselves.


Training with the Slovaks was insane.  From their English classes most of the cadets could understand basic words if we talked very slowly and clearly. There were some who could speak fluently and we were supposed to rely on them to translate for us… but they got tired very quickly of translating every word the instructors said. And you all know how the Army training is- a lot of waiting and confusion. So I would often go hours in the field without hearing a single English word spoken- one of the weirdest experiences ever.


Since the U.S. has taught them much of our tactics their training is very similar to ours - just not as efficient.  For example, it took about 40 minutes to march from the place where we ate every morning to the field and woods we trained in. Then for lunch, we would march back to the building and then back out again, and then of course back in for dinner.  Therefore, we wasted more than two hours a day just walking to meals.  The better aspects of the training were that they had their Special Unit NCO’s training the cadets for the week.  These men spoke no English but through interpreters we learned they had been stationed in Iraq just south of Baghdad.  During the training we would shoot about 4, 30 round magazines of blanks everyday.  They also used flairs extensively for training purposes. 


We went to a pop-up range which coincidently had us shooting directly towards a road.  The range was relatively safe, but they were not as strict as the U.S. with range safety.  Their weapon, the Sa vz. 58, we found to be rather inaccurate.  This could have been because they had us shooting on full burst at the pop-ups and the 100m was the only target people hit somewhat consistently.   The meals might have been the hugest culture shock.  Dinner was a meal that barely existed- we would come in from a long day running through the woods and there was no meat.  The meal would usually consist of as much bread as you wanted, soup, and maybe some rice and tea- never water at any meals.  Luckily we were able to have pizza delivered which we did every night to the barracks.


The Slovak cadets were incredibly helpful and friendly.  The Slovaks apparently love giving and receiving presents.  They shared everything with us- cigarettes (75% were chain smokers), candy, warm weather gear, etc.  Then before we left, they were avidly traded anything they had to obtain some part of our uniforms or clothing we brought.  I now have Slovak patches, pins, cover, fleece, thermal shirt, face paint, dress shirt, and non-dress shirt.  The Slovaks our age were not much different than us- we got to bond a lot with them.  They gave us a letter at the end of our stay which ended with, “P.S. Do not forget the Slovaks.”  That has even more of a meaning with the recent Georgian conflict.  These Eastern European countries rely on our country to save them because, as we informed them, our military is about half the population of Slovakia. 


I came away from the trip with a new appreciation for our military.  Not only did the Army provide expensive hotels for us to stay in and money for food, but I suddenly had a new perspective on how much better our army is.  I also got to see how others saw us. One cadet said to me that he had always thought we (Americans) were all really snotty but he was happy to find out we were just like them.  Meeting new people and working with another military that fights with us overseas was amazing!  It was an invaluable experience that I would recommend to all.







By CDT Bohn


            Every summer Cadets fresh from their MSIII year get a paid round trip to Ft. Lewis Washington.  The reason for this annual migration is LDAC, where these bold young leaders-to-be are given the chance to demonstrate their knowledge and explain why they’ve been soaking up and Army scholarship for the past three years.  For many, including myself, this experience can be marked by a certain amount of trepidation.  Uncertainties abound as the hour approaches and as wisps of self doubt appear in people’s minds, the questioning begins.  Have I prepared enough?  Did I pack everything?  Am I up on all the technical knowledge?  How will I react to people?  How will people react to me?  These fears are usually quelled once you begin talking with your squad mates and realize that you’re in the same boat as everybody else.  Allow me to recall an event.  The second night after arriving at Ft. Lewis on D -2 (two days before the start) I was selected to act as Squad Leader.  At this point since cadets (Warriors, as we’re called) were still filtering in and no bonds of trust had been formed, this could be described as being beaten to a bloody pulp and then thrown into an ocean to test for sharks. 


I received my OPORD, which basically said get up at 0430, gave my WARNO, OPORD and was supervising when I was informed at 2130 that a new addition to the squad had arrived.  This person came with problems, during the flight her shampoo and conditioner had exploded inside her duffle bag and burst out of the Ziploc bag they were in, contaminating all her possessions with fragranced gooiness.  I rounded up my squad and put out a plan in which the fireguard from our squad would do her laundry during the night in shifts so it would be done by morning.  As time went on and trust built I started seeking help writing OPORD’s, a topic I’ve never been strong on, and low and behold the problem bringer was an OPORD wiz!  From this it’s easy to pocket the knowledge that if you help someone out, sooner or later they’ll help you out, but more importantly if you show up looking to make sure your buddies are looked after, even if you’re not in leadership, people will turn around and look after you.












By CDT Roberts


As I left my home town for a new journey as a college student and an Army ROTC cadet I was filled with feelings of excitement and apprehension. Serving my country has been a long term goal of mine since I was young, and to know that my journey toward my dream was about to commence was a feeling like no other. After meeting some of the Cadre members and fellow cadets, I was issued my uniform and equipment. It was the

greatest feeling of pride to put that uniform on and to be wearing the U.S. Army patch

over my heart. As the next day began we were awoken at 0600 for our first day of physical training, which included our first Army Physical Fitness Test. After physical training it was time change into our ACU's and proceed to our swearing in ceremony.


Standing in front of Lt. Col. Page and taking my oath was a huge feeling of accomplishment for me. After taking the oath, it was time to say goodbye to our parents and begin the challenges that were in store for us for the rest of the week. Combat water survival training was my favorite activity of the week. Treading water for five minutes with our ACU's on was a lot more difficult than I thought, but I loved the challenge. Also we were placed on a high dive board, with full ACU's on, blind folded, holding our rifle above our head and pushed into the water. The goal was to come up without dropping our rifles.


Another activity during the week was weapons familiarization and land navigation at Mount Pleasant. I really enjoyed land navigation even though I wasn't successful at it my first time, it will give me something to work on in the future. Weapons familiarization was really cool, because I've never been around any type of weapons like that and it was something I never would have done unless I had participated in ROTC. We also went through the Hoffman Challenge course at Mount Pleasant. I really enjoyed the team building activities. This was probably my most satisfying activity of the week, because during these activities I think everyone realized that the most important concept of being in the military is working as a team.  Every cadet looks our for each other and if one member fails the whole team fail.  While we were at Mount Pleasant we ate meals ready to eat for lunch. That was an experience in itself, but when you are hungry anything tastes good and they really weren't that bad.


Another activity that we completed was rappelling from the top of Barton Hall. This was the most challenging activity of me during the week. If it wasn't for Sgt. Hart and Lt. Col. Page encouraging me to face my fears, I never would have been able to do it. Once I finally did it and was back on the ground, I realized that with the motivation and encouragement of my Cadre and fellow cadets I could overcome any of my fears. We also zeroed our M16A Rifles on the EST2000, which was also a lot of fun.


As tiring as orientation week was it was one of the best weeks of my life. It gave you a taste of what it is like to be a cadet at Cornell Army ROTC and more importantly it made me aware of causes that are bigger than myself. The most important concept that I got out of orientation was the teamwork aspect. Every cadet was there because they wanted to be there and everyone was encouraging and helping their fellow cadets.


All of the Cadre members were very encouraging and I learned as much as I could from them in that short time. I think orientation week is a great experience for anyone even considering a career in the military or simply looking to gain some leadership experience. I learned more about myself as a person in one week than I have in a longtime. It is an experience that I would never trade and I'm very appreciative to the people who make it a success. I truly look forward to continuing my years as a Cornell Army ROTC cadet.





Army 10 Miler


By CDT Horn

Army 10 Miler is an annual race held in Washington D.C. very near the Pentagon. Running ten miles without stopping, on hard paved roads, in a crowd of many thousands of people, with little breakfast, and a persistent cold all sounded like a good idea when I first signed up for it. Actually, it turned out to be a great idea. Let me take a few steps back, the race began for our 10 Miler team at the beginning of the school year. 28 August, two days before the first Diagnostic APFT eleven of us gathered at 2000 to run eight miles around a track in the dark. Thirty two laps and a little over an hour later, we all staggered around stretching. Sixty four minutes and a lot of leg pain reveal that summer was not as kind to me as I had supposed. But each of us recognized at the end of that practice that while there was much work to be done, we had the determination to get it done before race day.      

We established a weekly schedule of two practices, Tuesdays after ROTC Lab and Thursdays at 2000, which made for tons of fun to practice for those of us with significant homework loads. Organic Chemistry and Physics conflicts led to late nights icing my leg while scanning textbooks. Only about one month separated the initial practice from the big day though so I did what any determined cadet would do, held on tight and hoped for the time to pass quickly.

By the 3rd of October I was relieved to discover I had to pack up my race gear. Throwing in a few extra pairs of socks for good measure, I sealed up my duffle bag. Then my buddies and I packed into a van with the comedy styelings of MAJ Miller. After actively participating in a discussion of probability, statistical theories, the stock market, and politics which probably annoyed more people in the van than it interested, I settled into Papa Jahn’s house to load up on burgers, hot dogs, and stories.

The next day, bathroom breaks were discouraged but standing in long lines for Cinnabuns which weren’t as tasty as they looked. I ate two more hot dogs, a sack of fries, a high carb shake, and a couple of PowerAdes all in the van. After we settled in and signed up for the race we toured the Arlington National Cemetery. There my best buddy CDT Marion, and the seriously fast CDT Bobbe and I visited President Kennedy and witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

That evening, at the Sea Catch restaurant I enjoyed several Coca-Colas with lime and a huge salmon steak with fresh vegetables; although in retrospect, that was not the best pre-race food. Mr. Jahn, who treated all of us to the fancy meal, spoke to us about his son’s passion for the race. Cornell Army ROTC runs the 10 Miler team every year in honor of Trevor Jahn, Papa Jahn’s son, a cadet of ours who passed away a few years ago. It felt good to be reminded that we ran for a reason, but it was also sad to hear about Trevor again.

In a few short hours we awoke and began stretching for a long day. I pounded back a few Power Bar gel packs and put on my ultra light racing shoes. I also mistakenly did not use the restroom before the race. The race began after much fanfare and my first two miles were a nearly perfect PT test time of 13:10. But on mile three I fell on my rear end, tripping over my own feet and by mile five I absolutely had to urinate. Two minutes in an extremely overused porta-pot and I was back in the race. During the next few miles I took pride in cheering on my fellow runners, some of whom were crippled in Iraq and Afghanistan but ran with the aid of prosthetics. Yet by the time the last mile rolled around I was out of gas, coughing and choking on my own sweat. I noticed the turn I was on was the last bend in the race and I forced myself back in the game, picking up the pace. Running, pounding, sprinting, gasping. An then, being handed a finisher’s coin and accepting a chocolate muffin. The race was over. Seventy three minutes by my watch and seventy five by the race clock, at any rate I had done my best and the trip was a success. My buddies did better, we had swept up from 5th place in the ROTC division to 2nd. The race was over, and all was well. Now to get home and try to complete several hours of homework I told myself I would do over the weekend haha.


“Ranger Challengers Lead the Way!”


This weekend Cornell ROTC’s Ranger Challenge team will compete at Fort Devens. CDT Michael Bobbe has the scoop.



            On September 1, the Excelsior Battalion's Ranger Challenge team began its 0600 practice sessions. Since then, every day of every week has been occupied by physical training, skill training or some painful amalgamation of the two. For the cadets involved, it has been a trying two months. And this weekend the challenge will only become greater.

On October 18 the team will compete against teams representing battalions from across the Northeast at Fort Devens in Massachusetts. The team will be tested in several challenging events such as day and night land navigation, rifle disassembly and assembly, marksmanship and the Army Physical Fitness Test. At the end of the weekend the team with the best marks will be named victors of the competition.


After a disappointing result last year, Excelsior Battalion stands a good chance of finishing competitively this year. Under the leadership of CDT Bill Fry the team has undergone a rigorous training regimen. The year began with excruciating sets of push-ups, sit-ups and associated exercises. MS IV’s such as CDT Andrew Richley led exhausting runs up Ithaca’s notoriously vertical Buffalo Street.


As the team strengthened and its endurance grew, the schedule shifted to address equally important military skills. Ever try field stripping an M-16 rifle? How about at 0630 after studying all night for a prelim? Ask any Ranger Challenge team member; this bleary-eyed process is quite a task.



Throughout the process, Excelsior Battalion utilized Cornell’s wide range of resources. To practice marksmanship the team spent hours with the Engagement Skills Trainer, a high-tech shooting simulator on Barton Hall’s first floor. To strengthen muscles during physical training sessions, the team used weights at the ROTC weight cage. Ithaca’s natural environment often proved a useful asset – besides the runs up Buffalo, the team also performed weighted sit-ups on a hill behind Barton and practiced land navigation at nearby Mount Pleasant.


As an MS II involved in Ranger Challenge, I’ve found the past weeks to be occasionally fun, frequently informative and always difficult. I joined the team primarily to learn the skills essential to success at LDAC and enhance my OML score. For these reasons alone I think my involvement was worthwhile. But I’ve also discovered Ranger Challenge to be an enormous test of my time management skills. While I often struggled with my combined academic and ROTC workload, I know that I’ll emerge from the competition this weekend with much-improved study and scheduling skills.

By all measures – military, physical and personal – Ranger Challenge has been trying for the cadets of Excelsior Battalion. But after this weekend’s competition they’ll enjoy the satisfaction of success hard-earned. As CDT Luke Plants puts it “Winning, losing – it’s all ephemeral. What matters – and what lasts – is the sweat that you put into training. The blood that you put into it. When I put on the Ranger Challenge patch for the first time, it isn’t going to be my pushup count that I think of. It’ll be the cold, lonely mornings I spent training in Barton Hall. And the cadets I spent them with.”

Follow Up:  The 2008 Cornell ROTC Ranger Challenge team placed 6th out of 20 competing teams in the region.  HOO-AH!




Fall FTX


By CDT Mullen


From 31OCT08 to 2NOV08 the Excelsior Battalion will conduct a Fall FTX to develop general soldiering skills among cadets and to better prepare them for Warrior Forge. This year, the Fall FTX will be conducted locally. Cadets will be garrisoned in Barton Hall, and will be conducting the bulk of training at the Mount Pleasant training facility.  For the I’s and II’s this will serve as an opportunity to conduct training that is potentially new to them, such as firing the M16, learning how to conduct land navigation, and participating in squad tactics lanes. For the MS III’s, the Fall FTX will be an opportunity to develop their leadership skills by supervising garrison operations, leading field leader’s reaction course (FLRC) sessions, and leading squad tactics lanes (STX), while it will also be an opportunity to further develop learned skills in areas such as land navigation and small unit tactics. The Fall FTX will provide invaluable training for all Excelsior Battalion cadets, and will serve as especially useful training for the MS III’s as they prepare to attend Warrior Forge this summer







Dining In


By CDT Staiger


                Dining In is an army tradition that can trace its roots back centuries. It’s an opportunity for cadets in the ROTC program to come together in a formal social setting both to reflect on military traditions and to enjoy the camaraderie of the battalion. This year’s Dining In will take place on 21 November, 2008, in the local area. For new cadets, it is an opportunity to see and experience a formal military event with all the members from the entire battalion. For those who have already have had the opportunity to attend, it’s an excellent chance to re-connect with others who they may not have an opportunity to see much of during the year. There will be a featured speaker who shares his or her unique perspective with us as well as commemoration and remembrance of our military personnel and experiences. One tradition that always produces some real creativity and laughs are the skits in which members of each class are able to entertain guests with unique outlooks on other classes or other subjects they may choose to focus on. The evening is definitely one that will give cadets a chance to acknowledge the importance of their future roles as newly commissioned officers in the service of their country.

Into the Streets


By CDT Petit


                This semester’s community service event for Cornell Army ROTC will be  a joint effort with local volunteers on 25OCT08 to give back to the  Ithaca community.  Into the Streets is an annual event where Cornell  students are able to work on specific tasks that will build up the  city of Ithaca and allow them to gain useful volunteer experience Excelsior Battalion is tasked with the cleanup of Dewitt Park, one of  the oldest landmarks of the city as well as the site of various  veteran monuments.  Coupled with a fundraiser for the Tompkins County  Veterans Day Committee fundraiser for monument restoration, AROTC  will be working with community volunteers to clean and restore the park itself.  You are urged to sign up for this worthwhile event and  to help memorialize those Tompkins County members who gave the final  sacrifice.





Blood Drive


CDT Evans


On Saturday, October 25th, the Cornell ROTC Brigade, with Excelsior Battalion in support, will host a Tri-Service ROTC Red Cross Blood Drive in conjunction with that day’s Into the Streets Events.  The Tri-Service Commander, MIDSN Dentes, has set a goal that donations will exceed 60 pints of blood. This goal is planned on being easily exceeded and will be double the size of the last blood drive in Barton Hall sponsored by the Greek societies on campus.  Dentes also hopes that in addition to increasing the Red Cross blood supply, the event will promote tri-service camaraderie.  Cadets from all services, as well as a few civilians, will be assisting the Red Cross workers by giving out refreshments, stickers and t-shirts to donors.


The drive will begin at 0900 and accept the last donor at 1630.  There is always a surplus of donors towards the end of the drive, so all are recommended to donate earlier in the day to minimize wait time.  Walk-ons are always encouraged, however it is recommended to sign up ahead of time to give the Red Cross an accurate idea of the number of donors expected so no one gets turned away. Slots are available every 15 minutes throughout the drive. To sign up, email Carolyn at with your name, blood type, and two time preferences to donate.  You will be informed two days prior to the Blood Drive your official donation time.


This is a very worthy cause! Please come out to support the Red Cross.          







Tri-Service Sports Day- A Day of Blood, Sweat and Tears.


By CDT Furtner


                Aside from Cornell’s Debate Team, there is no better place to find stiff, in-your-face competition than on the faded floors of Barton Hall on November 8th.  This day brings out Cornell’s finest as Army Cadets pledge to bring back victory.  Air Force, Navy and Marine Cadets will also partake in the day’s events.  It’s top notch recruiting on LTC Page’s part that has really enabled AROTC to be the branch to beat this year.  This epic battle will include Ultimate Frisbee, Soccer, Basketball and a Tug-of-War.  Tri-Service Sports Day may be the most anticipated yearly tradition in a Cadet’s military career, and this year will be no different.  Army Cadets have been training all year for this day and will accept nothing short of victory, because we realize that if you ain’t first you’re last.











BC’s Corner


As the senior class of Excelsior Battalion cadets sets off on the journey that is MSIV year, we can look back and see the many changes that have occurred to the program since we began as humble MSIs.  We have seen different cadre come and go, various cadets enroll in the program and then drop a few days later, and even a shift from the old BDUs to our new and improved Army Combat Uniform.  The constantly shifting dynamic of the program here at Cornell and extension schools has been one heck of a ride and I think the drivers are going in the right direction…


When I first came to Cornell as a freshman there were approximately 10 cadets enrolled in MSL 101.  Currently, we have 21 freshmen MSIs enrolled in the course and on their way to becoming officers in the U.S. Army.  This trend of growth has been occurring over the last three years and is an indicator of overall improvement in the program. With the help of LTC Page we have been able to make our presence known on campus.  We have gone from a humble organization hidden away in Barton Hall to an open force that partakes in numerous activities involving community service and military awareness/remembrance on campus and in the greater Ithaca area. 


With such a focus on growth and improvement of our on campus standing, I believe it is imperative that we do not lose sight of our most important mission.  To train and commission quality Second Lieutenants in the United States Army is our top priority.  As an MSIV, it is my responsibility to train, educate, and guide MSI, II, and III cadets toward becoming competent warrior leaders.  With the commissioning of the senior class swiftly approaching, I challenge my fellow MSIVs to give back to a program that has provided them such great opportunities.  We mustn’t allow ourselves to become complacent in the face of “the light at the end of the tunnel.”  With that, I must remind the lower MS classes to train and foster leadership and military skills in each other.  MSIs, IIs, and IIIs are the future of this program and it is up to you to encourage the betterment of your classmates and strive for excellence in your education and military training. 


Like most things in life, the amount you get out of Army ROTC depends upon the effort that you put into it.  It is the responsibility of all cadets in this battalion to put forth an effort to improve themselves, their classmates, and the program as a whole.  The successes of this program are a reflection of our work as a cohesive unit.  With that, I encourage all cadets to strive for excellence and look forward to a successful and enjoyable year in the Excelsior Battalion.


“True and Firm”



C/LTC Richley

PMS’s Corner



Dear Army Cadets and Alumni:


                Greetings from Barton Hall!  It is time to give you a quick update on what is happening “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters.”  This year the Excelsior Battalion continues to meet our mission.   Congratulations to the Excelsior Battalion Class of 2008:













































The Battalion’s recruiting efforts were in full swing again this year and our current enrollment is 87 Cadets and we have several more pending qualifications to enroll this term.  The Battalion’s expansion at Elmira College and SUNY Binghamton is going extremely well and we expect to see continued growth over the next few years.  We have hired three additional cadre and staff to meet this increase in enrollment.   


We are very proud of the Cadets willingness to serve the community and the nation.  This year our Cadets have already completed several community service events including two Red Cross blood drives, cleaning of Dewitt Veterans Memorial and the POW/MIA Day Remembrance run.  These events have a tremendously positive impact on the Cornell community and the local community.  Our summer training programs were a massive success as you can see from the rest of the Recoil articles.


The Cornell University administration and staff continues to provide support to the program and we are coordinating to improve the program.  Barton Hall is currently the subject of a facility use and maintenance study.  A new committee is looking at all aspects of Barton Hall and will make plans for the way ahead for renovations and usage of Barton Hall.   We are looking forward to improving the facilities that many of the Cadets use on a daily basis. 


We are actively seeking nominations for Hall of Fame inductions that will take place in June of 2009.  We encourage our Alumni to stay in touch and visit often.  As you may know, we can not solicit support for the Cadets or the program in accordance with federal law.  However, I am concerned that we properly recognize donations.  In the past, we were not informed of who some of the donators were and did not recognize the gifts properly.  Thank you if you previously donated and we did not contact you.  If you chose to donate please coordinate with Joanne Madigan at .  This will ensure we know that you are giving, and allow us to direct the funds to the purpose that you specify.       


During this period of Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations, I will pause and give thanks to the many blessings and liberties that our great nation bestows upon us.  Thank-you to all of the Cadets and their families for volunteering to serve and lead our Army during these troubled times.  Stay safe and Happy Holidays! “True and Firm”


LTC Brian Page

Professor of Military Science