Eight Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets from colleges and universities around the country took part in Cadet Troop Leader Training with the 212th Combat Support Hospital in Miesau, Germany, for several weeks this summer.
Their training within the 212th Combat Support Hospital includes shadowing officers and leading soldiers through a variety of situations including planning for training exercises.
"I’m more confident going to my unit after I graduate knowing that I have a little bit of experience in a real unit, rather than just straight out of ROTC," said Cadet Claire Marlow from the University of Washington.
One cadet said she could have been working summer jobs like baby sitting or maybe just traveling the United States, but instead chose to do something that will give her skills for her future as an Army officer.
"Every experience you get is going to shape you as a leader, and this one has been amazing," Cadet Kevin Zuniga from Texas A&M International University, said.
The 212th Combat Support Hospital includes the cadets in every aspect of daily operations so they could see the Army from an Army medicine perspective.
On Aug. 2, all of them participated in simulating how to evacuate a casualty by helicopter.
This experience not only gave them the opportunity of flying in one of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigades’ medevac helicopters, but afforded them leadership experience they might not receive before commissioning as a second lieutenant.
1st Lt. Brian Thorson, 212th Combat Support Hospital, a sponsor for the cadets for a second year, said working with a medical unit has a distinct advantage.
"Anytime a unit is deployed you’re going to have medical assets there, so you need to understand the echelons of care, so to understand that flow, it will be a huge asset to whatever unit they go," Thorson said.
Zuniga added that nothing his family or friends did this summer will compare to his experience.
"The Army has made a great investment in paying to send cadets to [Cadet Troop Leader Training]. If the budget changes, this is a program that needs to be kept," Zuniga noted. (Command Public Affairs, 30th Medical Command.)