thunder rolls


thunder rolls
FALL 2013
ROLLING THUNDER BATTALION, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Il 60187
Facebook: Rolling Thunder Battalion
Cadet Troop Leader Training at Fort Sill
CPT Springer // page 5
Letter from LTC Hoyman
Cadet Command Sergeant Major
Cultural Understanding
A Beginners Experience
Ranger Challenge (Female) 4
Cadet Troop Leader Training 5
Ranger Challenge (Male) 6
US Army Air Assault School
Field Training Exercise
German Armed Forces Badge 9
Support Rolling Thunder
The responsibility and commitment required to be a
college student and a cadet are immense, especially
at a demanding college like Wheaton. We are pushed
academically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The
journey is rough but the cadets in this program are of
outstanding character and work ethic. The RTB not only
produces competent and driven officers but also strong
This year we have challenged cadets farther by changing up the training schedule
drastically. Each Thursday we created three separate labs, one for each MS level.
We also doubled the number of tactical labs during the semester in order get
more valuable leadership training. Each class received excellent and practical
training that built their military knowledge from the ground up. The sophomore
and senior class participation increased drastically because of the training change.
We are growing in our leadership capabilities and enjoying the guidance of the
new Professor of Military Science, LTC Jim Hoyman.
To our alumni and supporters: thank you for your continued support through
another semester of ROTC training. As part of the cadet class of 2014, I speak for
everyone when I say we are looking forward to joining the ranks of the best Army
in the world in just a few short months.
— Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Gayle Foote
2 of 9
Friends of the RTB,
Greetings from the snowy fields of Wheaton! I want to give you a quick report of
our excellent fall semester and some items of potential interest this spring and
Under Cadet Gayle Foote’s leadership, the cadet staff set the right tone and
kicked the year off with challenging labs, a dynamic fall field training exercise, and
a well done Veterans’ Day ceremony. Each event pressed cadets to step up in
leader roles much sooner than in previous years.
Our spring semester chain of command is off to a fast start with a focus on
excellence in battalion operations and training. Our MS IIIs (juniors) are running
hard as they learn to lead at the platoon and company level with an eye on
attending advanced camp (Leader Development and Assessment Course, LDAC).
As you know, the Army is in a period of contraction looking to cuts in size and
budget. Cost saving measures will be levied across the board. One immediate
change in ROTC is the location of LDAC. Starting this summer, the training will
move from Fort Lewis to Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Through this contraction period, we see an opportunity to reinforce the Wheaton
core competency of quality. As I state in my vision statement, “we are renowned
for producing high quality, spiritually fit officers of character for the Army...
program graduates are committed, high-impact servant leaders.”
Enabling that high standard of excellence is your legacy. I want to thank each
and every one of you who have contributed so richly to what this program has
become. You can rest assured that the cadets are daily motivated to live up to and
add to the legacy you’ve built.
Last, it is with sadness we report the death of a former RTB Assistant Professor
of Military Science, LTC Bill Holstine. Bill is now at home with Jesus. He spent
his final year battling cancer but did so with renewed vigor to connect deeply
with his Savior and his family. For years, Bill has returned to Wheaton to teach
the financial advisory class to our seniors. He attempted to do so again this year
in his breaks between chemotherapy, but his health took a turn for the worse in
late January and was unable to teach the class one last time. We will miss this
dedicated husband, father, and Army leader who dearly loved the Wheaton
College ROTC program.
At Bill’s funeral, I was reminded that our investment into others will outlast each
of us. In that vein, I thank you for your continued connection and investment with
our cadets and this program. I am truly excited about what God is doing here as
we continue to build leaders eager to make a lasting impact.
For Christ and His Kingdom,
— Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hoyman
3 of 9
As the Command Sergeant Major of the Rolling Thunder Battalion, I have been
blessed with the task of maintaining the discipline of the battalion. Ironically, when
I was an MS1, my worst enemy was the RTB’s c/CSM, and I have come full circle
my senior year to fill this role. As always, this position has been filled with unique
challenges and privileges. The c/CSM’s role has the most direct influence on the
younger cadets and represents the overall professionalism of the senior staff. I
specifically have enjoyed this position because it has allowed me to engage in a
“hands-on” style of leadership, giving me the privilege of developing the younger
cadets individually and as a whole. As the enforcer of the standard, the c/CSM’s
role is never dull, and I have found it extremely rewarding. Thankfully, the caliber
of the cadets of the Rolling Thunder Battalion has made my job easy. Rolling Thunder leads the way.
— Cadet Command Sergeant Major James Yang
CULP (Cultural Understanding and
Language Proficiency) is an Army
ROTC program designed to improve
the cultural awareness of cadets. For
Army ROTC cadets, the world is their
classroom. Every year hundreds of
cadets travel the globe, spending up to
three weeks immersed in foreign cultures, learning more about how others
around the world view the U.S., and,
in the process, learning more about
with three weeks spent in Tanzania. I
was part of a team that taught English
as a foreign language to middle school
and high school students in Dar es
Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. Our
team of 8 cadets taught at 3 different
schools in Dar: Air Wing, Makongo, and
Jitegemee. I taught at Makongo where I
worked with students from grades 7-12.
I learned a lot about how to teach and
motivate people to learn through this
This summer I had the opportunity of
attending CULP in Tanzania. The trip
lasted from May 17th to June 17th, 2013,
I decided to attend CULP in Tanzania
this summer because I grew up in East
Africa and considered it a real privilege
to be back among the people of Tanzania. Tanzanians are hospitable, friendly, courteous, and respectful. I think
Cadet Smith, one of my teammates,
phrased it well when he said “Everyone in Tanzania are the nicest person
I’ve ever met!” They enjoyed having us
there and truly appreciated it when we
showed interest in their language or
culture. My favorite thing about teaching was that the students were very
open about the fact that they were
glad we were there and would miss us
when we left.
— Cadet Corporal Matthew Cox
4 of 9
Coming into the
ROTC program,
I felt a mix of
and excitement.
Having no
family members
in the military, I never experienced the
military environment. In the beginning,
I was really confused about all the
acronyms, who I was suppose to call sir
or ma’am, who I was suppose to salute,
the proper way to stand in formation,
etc. I was assured, however, that my
feeling of confusion was normal as
a freshman. Right away we started
training for Ranger Challenge (RC),
which is something I recommend all
cadets in the battalion try out for at
least once. I received training that
gave me confidence as a freshman,
and I experienced immeasurable
encouragement and support form
my teammates. Also, I was blessed to
have one of the best leaders I have
ever worked under. c/LTC Foote
showed me what it means to be a
caring, selfless servant leader, yet she
constantly pushed us mentally and
physically. I am grateful to have had her
as my RC Team Captain.
Besides RC, I have had a great
experience with our labs and military
science classes on Thursdays. At first,
I did not like the labs. I thought they
were boring, and it was hard to imagine
our labs as real life scenarios. After
the first quarter, however, we went to
Lewis University several times for lab.
Carrying out lanes in the woods made
it more “real” for me, and I started
treating the lanes as real missions. As
far as classes go, I have really enjoyed
SFC Lyson’s war stories from his many
tours. Just listening to his experiences
gave me an accurate picture of what
deployments are like. Overall, I am
honored to have this experience in the
Rolling Thunder Battalion, and I am
looking forward to the next three years
in ROTC.
— Cadet Private Abby Burgdorf
This is the third year since we restarted the female
Ranger Challenge team in the Rolling Thunder Battalion (RTB). Since we did not have enough cadets at any
one school, we formed a combined Wheaton College
and Lewis University team. As the captain, I was the
only returning member and all the other women were
first-year competitors. It was a young but powerful
team, earning third place out of five at the 3rd Brigade
Ranger Challenge competition this year. Our strength
was physical fitness which allowed us to compete with
the division one (D1) schools in our Brigade. Next year’s
team co-captains, c/Runey and c/Burgdorf, are looking
forward to more Ranger Challenge success in the years
to come.
— Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Gayle Foote
5 of 9
Captain Springer and Major Fultz share their Summer Training
This summer I attended Cadet Troop
Leader Training (CTLT) at Fort Sill
in Oklahoma. CTLT is a three week
program that puts you in the shoes of
a platoon leader in the Army. I was the
platoon leader of Bravo 2-5, the Bulls
Battery. I got to experience the life of
a field artillery officer in the center
of the artillery universe at Fort Sill.
While at Ft. Sill, I had the chance to do
some great Army training such as; fire
a 105mm howitzer, plan and execute
Cadet Troop Leader
Training (CTLT)
The Cadet Troop Leader Training
(CTLT) provides Cadets the
opportunity to experience
leadership in Army Table of
Organization and equipment
(TO&E) units over a three to
four week period. Cadets serve
in lieutenant-level leadership
positions in active-duty units.
Platoon Leader positions have
a 3-4 week duration depending
on the hosting unit and location.
Assignments include units that are
located CONUS and OCONUS.
Cadets are assigned a unit mentor,
and are provided on-post lodging
and meals via a Dining Facility. This
program is exclusively designed
for MS III Cadets before and
after completion of the Leader
Development and Assessment
Course (LDAC).
a convoy, and tour a top secret Air
Defense Artillery Facility. The training
was great, but CTLT is a lot more than
this. It taught me about how the life of
an Army Officer works. That is what I
appreciated the most from my CTLT
experience. CTLT is the best training
ROTC has to offer and I would not
change a thing about my experience
— Cadet Captain Martin Springer
This past summer, I had the opportunity to attend Cadet
Troop Leader Training (CTLT) at Fort Wainwright in the
beautiful state of Alaska. I trained with the 6th Squadron,
17th Calvary Regiment, Blackfoot Troop Aviation Task
Force. CTLT is a program in which cadets can shadow and
temporarily become a Platoon Leader for 3 or 4 weeks
to gain direct knowledge about how to lead a platoon.
The 6-17 is an OH-58 Kiowa Troop, so my job consisted
of learning firsthand from Kiowa pilots about the maneuvering, observation and
attack capabilities of one of the best helicopters in the US military and also the
unique responsibilities associated with leading an aviation platoon. I learned
about the day to day responsibilities of being a PL, the challenges of maintaining
a dozen aircraft and other equipment, and the complexity of ensuring all the
training requirements of the pilots are met. And, best of all, received multiple
hours of flight time, not only in the Kiowa but in Blackhawks and Chinooks as
well. To top it all off, my last week of CTLT consisted of a Field Training Exercise
where B Troop linked up with the 1-52 at Ft. Greely to conduct individual and
collective training to prepare for future deployments. Besides the awe factor of
being around so many aircraft at one time, the FTX taught me a lot about how
combined operations are run and the added complexities that helicopters and
other associated vehicles bring. CTLT was a great experience. It taught me a great
deal about life as a platoon leader as well as the unmatched excellence of Army
Aviation. — Cadet Major Kelsey Fultz
6 of 9
“Greatness is
now” was the
motto I chose
for our Ranger Challenge
team this year.
It could have
been a bust if
we did not live up to that calling, but I
am glad to say that we did.
Compared to other years, our team
was seemingly unimpressive as we
started the season. We were not the
tallest, we were not the strongest, and
we were certainly not the most experienced. Faced with the enormity of the
task ahead of us, I was unsure of how
everything would pan out. In addition
to the rigors of our training, we had
also inherited the pressure of a winning
legacy in Ranger Challenge
that extended back decades.
To say the least, I did not want
to become the only captain
in recent memory to field a
losing team.
Yet at some point in our training, I noticed that this self-imposed fear began to disappear.
My team mates constantly
surprised me with their tenacity and focus, and I was pleased with the marked
improvement in our physical fitness.
We were ready to go and eager to compete…until the government shutdown.
Not usually affected by the politics in
Washington, D.C., I was a little peeved
that the partisan gridlock in the capitol
threatened to rob us of the opportunity we trained so hard for. Thanks to the
herculean efforts from cadre, however,
the competition went on, albeit in a
compacted form. That did not matter
though because, at the end of the day,
we dominated. Both the 9-man and
the 5-man teams took first place. I was
proud of many things that day, but
none more so than the cohesiveness
of the men that I was honored to lead.
We lived up to the pressures of our
winning tradition, but with a distinct
flair for camaraderie and teamwork.
Our success at Task Force gave us a
berth at the Brigade competition a
couple of weeks later. The competition
was tight, and though we did not finish
as high as we wanted to (we took fifth
place out of six teams), I am not sure
I would change very much about our
performance. We finished a close second in the 7.1 mile ruck march that began the competition, and clinched first
place in the APFT that wrapped up the
competition (that was after a day in
which we covered about 17 miles with
rucks and full gear from 0500-2100).
At the end of it all, however, what
will stick with us is the bond that we
shared—the numerous early mornings,
the many hours of training, and
the occasional “hot-tub PT.”
Maybe this is too idealized,
but maybe not. We sought to
honor God in the pursuit of excellence, and became a team
in the process. “Stay Dirty and
Get big!”
— Cadet Captain Benjamin Baker
7 of 9
Over the summer I was privileged to attend Army Air Assault School at Ft. Benning, GA. Along with cadets from all around the United States and Active duty
personnel, I learned about sling load operations, Army Aircraft specifications and
rappelling. My time at Ft. Benning
provided me with a chance to not
only to rappel from a UH-60 Blackhawk, but also a chance to interact
with my future peers, superiors
and subordinates. I gained valuable
insight into leadership through the
successes and failures of cadets
placed in charge of our class. Most
importantly, I supplemented my
education in the Rolling Thunder
Battalion with experience I could
not have gained otherwise and
have been able to use those experiences positively to help develop
other cadets in the program.
— Cadet First Sergeant Jacob Roberts
This summer I had the opportunity
to attend Airborne School in Fort
Benning, GA. During the three weeks
that I was there, I had the opportunity to see the regular Army first hand
outside of ROTC. This was invaluable
training for me, because so often I
think of my future in the Army as an
abstraction. I have an idea of what
day to day life in the Army will look
like, but I have no real experience to
draw from. Airborne School gave me
a great glimpse of my future. It also
gave me a sense of the standards
of the Army. In airborne operations,
there is no room for error and the
standards are high. During the
course, we were constantly held to
the highest standards of professionalism and conduct. Ultimately, the
culmination of my time at Airborne
led to five jumps and the most nerve
wracking, but thrilling moments of
my life. I will never forget handing off
my static line and facing the door to
make my first exit. I will take these
memories with me, but more importantly I will take with me the lessons
and confidence that I gained in that
short time.
— Cadet First Sergeant Derek Minkus
8 of 9
For one weekend each
semester, the
Rolling Thunder
Battalion (RTB)
conducts what’s
known as a
“Field Training
Exercise” (or FTX). This kind of training
is difficult to conduct outside of a
military training base. This year’s Fall
FTX was located at Marseilles Training
Center as it has been for the last few
years. We hit the ground running the
moment we arrived Friday morning
with all of the cadets from Wheaton,
ONU, and Lewis forming combined
companies, platoons and squads. The
rest of the day then consisted of four
different training exercises which
included a “Preliminary Marksmanship
Instruction” course, the Army’s “Confidence Course”, the “Grenade Assault
Course” and finally, the “Rappel Tower”
where we were able to conduct the
“head first” Australian Rappel. Day
two began after a restful night’s sleep
inside the barracks before conducting
Day Land Navigation through a tough
vegetated forest, which was followed
by M-16 marksmanship training. Day
two ended with cadets conducting
Night Land Navigation, with the night
being concluded with a good night’s
sleep outside with Mother Nature. Day
three, the last and final day, was known
as “The Ultra Carnage Challenge,”
which required the training each cadet
received over the weekend in order
to complete the given mission. Once
all training was completed Sunday
afternoon, the ride back home, after
a cookout and weapons cleaning of
course, was nothing more than a nap
for everyone.
Though very exhausting, Fall 2013 FTX
was a great success. The training was
excellent and I enjoyed the entire
weekend. If I were to choose what I
thought was the best part, it would
have to be the execution of the “Ultra
Carnage Challenge.” Not only did it
prepare cadets for what the rest of the
year’s training would be like, it included
all of the weekends training into one
huge mission that ended with an all out
paintball war. — Cadet Captain Nathaniel Bernardo
9 of 9
On the 1st-3rd of
November, 2LT
Ortiz, c/Springer, c/Bakeman,
c/Hung, c/Billington, c/Manley, c/Trapp,
and c/Bergman,
all competed at
Western Illinois University for the German Arms Proficiency Fitness Badge,
along with a number of their Olivet
Nazarene University counterparts. This
was the 5th annual competition and
awarded medals to some 150 cadets
from the Midwest along with several NCO and Officer Cadre leaders.
The competition has three different
awards, ranging from gold to silver to
bronze, based upon the efficiency that
each event is completed. This competition tested cadet’s ability in both
fitness and resilience that lasted the
entire weekend. The ceremony began
with the introduction of the German
Sergeant Major who was in charge of
the oversight of the competition, than
led directly into the first portion of the
competition, the German Fitness test.
The German Fitness Test included a
series of 11 by 10 meter sprints, a 1000
meter run, and a timed bicep arm hang.
Each category was timed and had to
be done within a specific period to
qualify for a medal. With day one over,
everyone was at a gold standard. Day 2
was comprised of a 200 meter swim in
ACU’s, which had to be done within 4
minutes, and a 9mm pistol range, with
a gold standard of 6 for 6 from three
different firing positions. Several cadets
had difficulty completing both the swim
and firing range, but with determination were allowed to try again. Day 2
was done early and allowed for cadets
to rest and prepare for the next day’s
event, with each cadet again still within
the gold standard. Early on day three
the cadets competed in a 12 kilometer ruck march. The ruck march route
traveled along the beautiful bordering
farmland to the university, and ended
at the same start point. The ruck march
required a packed ruck of at least 35
pounds. All the cadets finished in the
allotted time with the correct weight,
thus all earning a gold medal. The
conclusion of day 3 ended with a brief
speech from the German Sergeant
Major, and an awards ceremony which
bestowed the medals to each of the
competing cadets. About 92% of the
competing cadets and Cadre leaders
received a gold standard, with all the
other competitors receiving silver.
— Cadet First Lieutenant Craig Billington
You can write a check payable to
Wheaton College and annotate on
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Military Science.”
Please mail to:
Advancement Department
Wheaton College
501 College Avenue
Wheaton, IL, 60187-5593
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In the window that pops up, scroll to the bottom and check the
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In the “Gift comment” field under the Designation Options heading,
type in “Department of Military Science.”
Enter in your contact information and follow directions to complete
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