AUSA North Texas Chapter hosts ROTC cadet leadership program 


Cadets learn how to plan, prepare and execute a tactical operation on a map of the Vicksburg Battefield in a challenging Tactical Decision Game (TDG). The North Texas Chapter of AUSA uses TDGs to teach, coach and mentor college ROTC cadets. (Photo Credit: North Texas Chapter AUSA)

Col. John Antal, USA, Ret.
Vice President, Programs
AUSA North Texas Chapter

The Association of the United States Army’s North Texas Chapter has organized, led and funded a leadership program to help teach, coach and mentor college ROTC cadets in the north Texas area.

The colleges and ROTC units involved include the University of North Texas, Texas Christian University and Baylor University.

This unique leadership program involves "Leadership and a Movie" events, Tactical Decision Game Exercises and Battlefield Staff Rides.

"Leadership and a Movie" events involve a movie and a dinner and are held four times a year at the various college campuses.

The event begins at dinner with a short explanation of the movie and the key leadership points to watch out while viewing the film.

After the film, there is a dynamic discussion of the leadership lessons that can be gleaned from the movie.

"The focus of these three-hour sessions is to raise the cadets’ leadership awareness while in a vigorous leadership discussion," a chapter official said.

Adding, "Cadets gain the benefit of the Army leadership experiences of the AUSA members who have served."

Recent movies have included: "The Crossing" (George Washington at Trenton), "Glory" (Civil War) and "We Were Soldiers" (Vietnam, Ia Drang Valley Battle) to name a few.

Tactical Decision Game Exercises are held twice a year to prepare cadets for the battlefield staff ride.

These interactive exercises are an exciting and inexpensive way to teach tactical decision-making.

Each cadet is required to plan, prepare and execute a mission on the Civil War Vicksburg Battlefield map of the Stockade Redan, using modern weapons and tactics.

The "execution" comes in the form of pitting their plan against an opposing plan and debating the results on their merits until one side is clearly the victor. No draws are allowed.

The learning that is inspired by these sessions is remarkable – and all at the cost of a well-designed exercise on paper.

Most importantly, the cadets gain insights into terrain appreciation and decision-making that they will exercise during the battlefield staff ride.

Battlefield Staff Rides are held twice a year and are the capstone exercise of the North Texas Chapter’s Leadership Program for cadets, and are conducted at the Vicksburg National Military Park during a three-day operation.

The cadets arrive on a Friday, visit the museum and then travel to a local Army National Guard armory that becomes their bivouac for two nights.

All day Saturday and Sunday morning the cadets walk the battlefield and conduct a leadership exercise – a modified tactical exercise without troops located on the terrain surrounding the Stockade Redan.

The event ends on Sunday with a tour of the Cairo River Gunboat and the singing of the "Army Song" in front of the flag near the Vicksburg Cemetery.

For more information on this program, contact: Col. John Antal, USA, Ret., at, or Col. JP Hogan, USA, Ret., at