With packs and helmets strapped to the front of their bodies and ear plugs in place, cadets with the University of Montana Army ROTC boarded two CH-47 Chinook helicopters at the River Bowl fields on Friday as they headed for Fort Harrison in Helena for a one semester weekend-long Field Training Exercise. 
 
At Fort Harrison, Cadets will be taking part in obstacle course competitions, hand grenade assault courses, automatic weapons training, rifle and pistol qualifications and paintball tactics.  
 
The Montana Army National Guard provided the pilots and the two CH-47 Chinook helicopters which carried Cadets to Helena.
 
UM ROTC Executive Officer Patrick Beckwith said this month's Field Training Exercise is designed to expose Cadets to the fundamentals of military training and teamwork, and a little fun on the side like getting the chance to fly in military grade helicopters. 
 
UM Army ROTC Scholarship and Enrollment Officer Tracy Mitchell said most Cadets had the opportunity to attend the training sessions in Helena.
 
"Field Training Exercises are like the fun part of ROTC, so everybody really wants to go," she said. "Cadets don't always get to fly, but when they do it's just like that attitude of this fun little bonus of the program."
 
 
This weekend's training also provided Cadets with the opportunity to learn more than just field tactics.
 
"We use a lot of the Field Exercise Trainings to teach leadership and critical thinking and being able to adapt," Mitchell said. "All of the events also contribute to soldier skills such as weapon skills, the art of camouflage and land navigation. This is a great opportunity to have some fun training and let our freshman Cadets try out ROTC to see if it's a good fit for them."