Fighting Eagles Cadets Get Into Action During Leadership Lab

On the 4th of February 2021, the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Fighting Eagles Battalion conducted training on Actions On Contact (AOC) and Linear Danger Area (LDA) crossings at the Cheney Waterworks property near the EWU campus.  The Cadets began the training by drawing equipment and holding accountability formation.

Cadets draw equipment before leadership lab.

During the training the Cadets used movement formations such as the squad file, squad line and squad column fire team wedge to move through the wooded terrain.  They also used the movement techniques traveling, traveling overwatch and bounding overwatch which are utilized in different situations depending on time restrictions, maneuverability, and if enemy contact is likely or not. It is ultimately up to the squad leader to determine which is used.  During movement the cadets were then engaged by an enemy opposing force to get them to practice their react to contact drills.

Cadets receive brief before conducting training.

Cadet Taylor takes cover after reacting to contact from an enemy opposing force.

LDA’s come up when doing large movements. A few examples of these are power line areas, or even large grassy fields where cover and concealment is limited. As leaders in the army, Cadets are required to know how to manage these areas without putting soldiers’ lives in harms way.

Cadet Burnside talks on the radio with his squad before crossing a linear danger area.

All of the skills the Cadets trained on are important to master to prepare them for ROTC Advanced Camp held each summer at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Advanced Camp is expected to occur this summer and our Cadets will be ready to excel.  Eagle Strong!

Note: You can see and download more pictures from the leadership lab from our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.

EWU ROTC Servicemember Recognized as the Greater Spokane Armed Forces Person of the Year

The Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) battalion has a long tradition of commissioning quality officers trained by outstanding Cadre.  Today one of our outstanding Cadre members, Sergeant First Class (SFC) Jason Hennig demonstrated how talented our Cadre is by being recognized as the Greater Spokane Armed Forces Person of the Year.

This year was the  63rd anniversary of the event that recognizes the outstanding military servicemembers and first responders in the Greater Spokane region.  The ceremony was held at the historic Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane.  Nominations for the award were solicited from military units from across the Spokane region.  All nominees were then interviewed by a panel of volunteer judges comprised of local business leaders and retired military officers.  From these interviews the finalists were brought in for a second interview.  The finalists were selected by the criteria of: responsibilities and accomplishments, appearance, poise and courtesy, leadership qualities, education and training, decorations, awards and honors, and community involvement and civic activities.

SFC Henning (center) is awarded the Greater Spokane Armed Forces Person of the Year Award

SFC Hennig was the only active duty Army servicemember nominated for the award that has traditionally been won by the Air Force due to the presence of Fairchild Air Force Base located to the west of Spokane.  Sergeant First Class Hennig who serves as the Senior Military Science Instructor for the EWU ROTC “Fighting Eagles” battalion, has a long history of outstanding military professionalism.  For example, earlier this year he was named the US Army Cadet Command Instructor of the Year out of the 274-ROTC programs across the nation.

ROTC Impact

SFC Hennig has been nothing, but a positive influence on the young men and women that make up the EWU ROTC “Fighting Eagles” battalion.  For example he was a driving force in preparing our MS-III (Junior) Cadets for Advanced Camp.  Advanced Camp is held each summer at Ft. Knox, Kentucky and the 37 day event is the culmination of three years of intense training in the ROTC program.  All Cadets must pass Advanced Camp to commission as an officer into the US Army and must perform well to improve their chances of receiving their top branch choice.  All 19 EWU ROTC Cadets passed Advanced Camp with 12 of 19 (63%) of them receiving outstanding or excellent scores.  These high scores helped 11 of the 14 Cadets commissioning this year to receive their first branch choice in the Army.  This 78% success rate was greater than the Cadet Command average of 60%.

SFC Hennig also helped with organizing many great Cadet activities such as the Expert Fighting Eagle Badge (EFEB) competition that tests Cadets on basic Soldier skills.  Cadets that pass this test are awarded an EFEB to wear on their Cadet uniform.  The challenging competition is one of the ways EWU ROTC Cadets are prepared to succeed at Advanced Camp.  SFC Hennig also assisted with organizing the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (GAFPB) testing that saw 167 Cadets, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors travel to the EWU campus to compete for the badge.  Due to SFC Hennig’s training plan, the Fighting Eagles battalion had the highest number pass the test with 26-personnel receiving a GAFPB.

University and Community Impact

Besides being a great instructor in the ROTC program, SFC Hennig has also been selected as a guest speaker for classes in the EWU Department of Women and Gender Studies. His guest lectures have focused on the US Army’s sexual assault prevention program and the role of women in the Army. He was also invited to serve as a motivational speaker for the women’s soccer team prior to their opening game in the conference tournament.  SFC Hennig has been very active in the local community as well. He serves as a Cub Scout Leader for Pack 258 in Spokane, which consists of weekly den meetings and bi weekly weekend events such as Scouting Out Hunger and visiting senior centers.

From everyone in the ROTC “Fighting Eagles” battalion we wish SFC Hennig a big congratulations for winning this prestigious award and being such a positive representation for the Army and EWU to the local community.  A well deserved recognition for a talented and dedicated NCO.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!  

EWU President Joins ROTC Cadets as They Take to the Skies Over Spokane

Spring FTX

On April 25th, 2019 the “Fighting Eagles” Cadets from the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program began their 3-day Spring Field Training Exercise (FTX).  To begin the exercise the Cadets would fly in UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the EWU campus in Cheney, Washington to Camp Seven Mile located north of Spokane.

EWU ROTC Cadets march towards Roos Field to await arrival of helicopters.

The Cheney Fire Department sprays down the landing zone prior to the arrival of the helicopters to limit the blowing of debris. 

The helicopter landing on campus was made possible by coordination between EWU ROTC, campus authorities, the EWU police department, and Cheney Fire Department.  The Blackhawk helicopters were piloted by soldiers from the Washington Army National Guard’s 96th Aviation Troop Command out of Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM).  They landed their helicopters in a parking lot adjacent to the iconic red turf of Roos Field, more popularly known as “The Inferno”.

UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters land on the EWU campus.

EWU ROTC “Fighting Eagles” Battalion Cadets ready to fly out to the Spring FTX.

VIPs Fly with the Fighting Eagles

Something special about this year’s flight out to the Spring FTX is that the EWU President, Dr. Mary Cullinan flew out with the Cadets to the FTX.  Joining Dr. Cullinan on the flight out was EWU Provost, Dr. Scott Gordon, and Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Dr. Jonathan Anderson.  Prominent EWU ROTC alumni, Brigadier General (retired) Neal Sealock and Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Jerry Mellick joined the university leadership on the flight out.  BG Sealock is the current Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) for Eastern Washington.

From left: LTC(R) Jerry Mellick, Dr. Scott Gordon, Dr. Mary Cullinan, Dr. Jonathan Anderson, LTC Jonathan Stafford, BG(R) Neal Sealock

The VIPs were transported in UH-72 helicopters piloted by Washington National Guard soldiers out of Fairchild Air Force Base.

UH-72 Lakota helicopters land on the EWU campus.

After receiving “cold load” training to prepare for the flight, the Cadets then began to load up into their helicopters.

Cadets board a Blackhawk helicopter.

EWU ROTC Cadets ready for action.

High Above EWU

The VIPs loaded in the UH-72 Lakota helicopters took off first and watched the Blackhawks take off with the Cadets from the air.

Blackhawk helicopters can be seen on the upper right preparing to take off near Roos Field more commonly known as “The Inferno”.

The airborne perspective provided views of areas commonly used by EWU ROTC Cadets.  For example the Palouse Hills to the west of Roos Field is a training area often used to conduct leadership labs at.

The Palouse Hills adjacent to the EWU campus.

The Cheney Waterworks is a wooded area located to the east of Cheney which is another area often used to conduct leadership labs at:

The wetlands that make up the Cheney Waterworks property.

Blackhawks take off from the EWU campus.

Eastern Washington University President, Dr. Mary Cullinan views the EWU campus from a UH-72 Lakota helicopter.

The view looking down on the center of the EWU campus.

The city of Cheney with the EWU campus located on the upper left.

Blackhawks carrying EWU ROTC Cadets fly over Cheney, Washington.

A closer look at the Blackhawks carrying Cadets from the EWU ROTC program.

Flying to Camp Seven Mile

From the EWU campus the Blackhawk helicopters followed the Lakotas towards Camp Seven Mile.  During the flight the helicopters passed over the beautiful Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge and the city of Spokane, before following the Spokane River north towards Camp Seven Mile.

The beautiful wetlands of the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

The helicopters approach the South Hill area of Spokane with highway 195 that runs to Pullman visible on the left.

Downtown Spokane, Washington.

EWU President Dr. Mary Cullinan flying in a UH-72 Lakota helicopter over downtown Spokane, WA.

EWU Provost, Dr. Scott Gordon pictured flying in a UH-72 Lakota over downtown Spokane, WA.

Helicopters begin to follow the Spokane River towards Camp Seven Mile. 

Flying over the Spokane River to Camp Seven Mile.

Arrival at Camp Seven Mile

After following the Spokane River north of Spokane, the helicopters soon arrived at Camp Seven Mile.  Camp Seven Mile is military property that is part of Riverside State Park.  The camp was established in 1933 to house Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers.  After constructing the camp the CCC workers than began building the roads, trails, and replanting trees to create the beautiful state park seen today.  In 1942 the CCC program was ended and the land turned over to the military.  The land was used to train soldiers that deployed to World War II and the Korean War.  The old camp property continues to be used for training purposes by Reserve, National Guard, and ROTC units in the region even though it is managed as part of the Washington State Park system.

Blackhawk helicopters carrying EWU ROTC Cadets fly over Camp Seven Mile.

Blackhawk helicopters carrying EWU ROTC Cadets land at Camp Seven Mile.

Fighting Eagles Cadets unload from their Blackhawk helicopter.

Blackhawk helicopter departs from Camp Seven Mile.

Successful Operation

The ride out to Camp Seven Mile via helicopter made for a memorable first day of the Spring FTX for the Cadets of the EWU ROTC program.  The leadership from ROTC thanks all the campus authorities, EWU Police Department, Fire Department, and the 96th Aviation Troop Command for making the helicopter insertion to Camp Seven Mile possible.  We also thank Dr. Cullinan, Dr. Gordon, Dr. Anderson, BG(R) Sealock, and LTC(R) Mellick for flying out with the Cadets during the first day of the Spring FTX.  The success of our helicopter operations demonstrates the incredible community we have at Eastern that supports our ROTC program.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!