I’m a newly commissioned 2nd LT as well as a former ROTC cadet. I wrote this schedule of Army ROTC Advanced Camp to the best of my memory. I was in 8th regiment in the summer of 2017. Schedules can differ by company and regiment, however this should give you a basic idea of what to expect at Army ROTC Advanced Camp.
In 2017, Advanced Camp took a complete 180-degree turn from the previous summers, which many considered to not be nearly challenging enough. There used to be far less pass/fail events and requirements, and even a week less time in the field. Army Advanced Camp was personally one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever faced, but also the most educational and rewarding. While it might seem intimidating, there’s no doubt that with the right preparation and attitude, you will make it through and continue on the right track to becoming an officer in the United States Army.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Day 0
Travel made up the bulk of day 0. Once cadets arrived at Louisville Airport, they were guided by cadre towards a terminal. We ate boxed lunches while waiting for the rest of the cadets to arrive. Once all cadets were accounted for, we made our way onto a bus which took us on an hour drive to Fort Knox. Immediately upon arrival, cadets were herded to the PT pitt for unit assignments and a gear layout. This was an intense process as cadre are trying to immediately immerse you into the camp environment. Once cadets completed their layout, they were sent off to the barracks to unpack and wait for the rest of the regiment to arrive. Once everyone was moved into the barracks, we were introduced to our platoon’s cadre and briefed on what to expect from Advanced Camp. That night, the entire regiment filed into the assembly hall to receive a briefing on Advanced Camp from General Hughes. The General basically told everyone what was expected from them, while assuring us that we would all be okay. He mentioned at that point in the summer, about 125 cadets had failed the course. He told several jokes throughout the talk, which had the entire room laughing. This was a lot of fun and helped ease the tension that everyone was feeling.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Days 1-5
Cadets at advanced camp will undergo a urinalysis. This occurs every year and for us, happening the morning of day one. The results didn’t seem to come back until three weeks had passed and we were leaving the field. Cadets were plucked from their platoons and not heard from again for the remainder of camp. They had endured the more difficult parts of ROTC, only to have it all lost in an instant. It was extremely sad for everyone to see these people go. Let this be a warning to all cadets that are considering having too much fun in the summer before camp.
The first several days mainly consisted of inprocessing. This includes having our medical records reviewed and receiving a couple of shots, making return travel, family day and graduation arrangements, as well as being briefed on the wildlife in the area. Cadets also conducted weapons draw, as well as equipment draw from supply. Anything that you don’t have on the packlist will be provided for you, on the condition that you return it at the end of camp. There will also be a trips to the barber, as well as the exchange to pick up any toiletries or basic equipment. The APFT was held towards the end of this period. The track that the 2-mile is run on is .5 mile loop, that has uphill and downhill portions. Cadets seemed to run faster times on this track due to its layout, as opposed to a standard 400 meter track. If someone were to fail their PT test, they will have several more chances to pass it throughout camp. However, failing a PT test reflects very poorly on the cadet. This portion of camp will be the last time cadets stayed in the barracks, until the final week. The last night before we left, we were given a packing list and time to pack our rucks for the following morning.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Day 6
Cadets took an early morning, four mile ruck to a shooting range, where they spent a majority of the day zeroing their weapon, as well as waiting for other cadets to do the same. If you’re not very experienced with shooting, this will be your chance to receive quality training. Cadets then set up a patrol base nearby, where they stayed for 1-2 nights. Hot chow will be served during this period.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Day 7
This day was spent at the pop-up range, which is a completely different range than the one used for zeroing. Here cadets spent a majority of the day shooting, until they hit the necessary amount of targets to qualify. The targets will be black silhouettes that will pop up for about four seconds each, ranging from 50-300 meters. Cadets will have unlimited chances to qualify.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Days 8-11
This period will make up the land navigation portion of camp. Cadets stayed in tents during this time. We were first given a written exam which we were given two chances to pass. The following day cadets conducted their first round of land navigation, followed shortly by night land navigation. There was a second round of testing the following day for those who failed the first time. The Land Nav course is pretty standard, however if you’re in one of the ladder regiments, there should be cadet-made trails leading to most points. Keep in mind that the maps we were given were a couple of years old.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Days 11-14
This stretch will make up the first portion of the field exercises. Here cadets conducted ambushes, raids, KLE’s, react to contact, attacks and patrols. These missions were all cadre lead, meaning they created and gave the OPORDs, as well as lead the entire mission. This is a great chance for cadets to see the standards that leadership will be held to. Leadership positions held by cadets during this period will not count towards the four minimum.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Days 14-15
Cadets made their way back to the FOB, where they had some time to rest, re-consolidate, change leadership, exchange laundry, receive orders and prepare for the next mission. During these breaks, cadets were able to shower and use their cellphones for designated periods of time. Although free time is granted, its best to use it productively by helping out the leadership with any given task. For example, helping build the terrain model.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Days 16-19
This week consisted of the first FTX. Platoons conducted an average of two missions each day. The leadership positions held during this time will be graded. We continued to conduct the same missions from the previous field exercise, just in a different location. One company of the regiment was selected to be the Opfor, allowing force on force missions to be conducted.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Days 20-22
These couple of days were essentially a repeat of days 15-17. There will be free time during these breaks from the field. However, it is expected that you spend this time conducting battle rehearsals with your platoon. Cadre don’t want to see you lounging around.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Days 23-26
This will be your final FTX. By this time, your platoon will know how to function efficiently as a unit, allowing missions to be conducted smoothly. The standards will be higher now that the unit has had weeks of practice.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Days 27-29
Cadets finally returned to the barracks. The last week will consist of the 12 mile ruck, rappelling and the obstacle course. There will be a significant amount of free time designated towards weapons and equipment cleaning. Out-processing will initiate; cadets will turn in their equipment and rifles.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Day 30
This day will involve graduation rehearsal and family day. Cadets had about six hours of free time on day 30. You may leave base with a parent or a fellow cadet’s parents. During rehearsal, family will were briefed by cadre on what cadets were doing while in camp.
Army ROTC Advanced Camp Day 31
Graduation will occur in the morning, which involves a half hour ceremony and some marching. After that, cadets will either leave with their parents or be bussed back to the airport. Remember that your orders extend until the time that you arrive at your final destination. Therefore you must still abide by the same regulations until then. For example, drinking a beer in the airport could get you dropped from camp, even after graduation.