On Friday, April 4th, the Boston NROTC Semper Fidelis Society (SFS) headed to Fort Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts for their semester field exercise, or FEX. Students from both the BU and MIT units worked together to make this FEX a successful training experience. The purpose of conducting FEX’s is to effectively train the Bulldogs (2/c Marine Options) for OCS by helping them develop the necessary technical, tactical, and leadership skills.
A typical FEX consists of sleeping outside in tents, night navigation, land navigation, a 9-12 mile hike, FITO/SITO, and eating delicious MRE’s and Sour Patch Kids. The weekend also included an IED class, as well as terrain model building. The IED class was new, and it allowed the midshipmen to put into perspective the dangers they may face in combat.
Each FEX evolution is designed to challenge SFS members and test their leadership ability. Midn 2/c Kim was in charge of leading this year’s SuperFEX. He did an outstanding job of keeping his platoon accounted for, as well as executing each evolution in a timely fashion. Midn Kim was able to keep everyone motivated and moving, especially during the 9-mile hike.
During SITO, which stands for “squad team in the offense”, the platoon was split into two groups of opposing squads led by OC Johnson and OC Mariscal. Each squad had their own assembly area where they set up a perimeter of security and dug fighting holes to sleep in. Temperatures fell well below freezing during Saturday evening. Despite this, SFS members were able to stay positive and trek through the frigid night.
Throughout the night, the cadre assigned missions to each squad. This allowed for Bulldogs and 3/c to practice their FITO tactics, night navigation and 5-paragraph order. At this point, everyone felt extremely sleep deprived and it became important for squad leaders to maintain control and focus. Despite the cold and lack of sleep, everyone was able to keep up the intensity and finish the next few hours of the FEX strong.
Early Sunday afternoon, CAPT Benke came to the rescue with Dunkin Donuts coffee, hot chocolate, and bagels. A hot wash was then conducted where cadre and SFS members discussed the FEX and any problems that had come up. Overall, the weekend was extremely strenuous, and tested the members of SFS with mental and physical challenges. Nonetheless, all agreed that it was a productive FEX, and many members of SFS were able to learn more about themselves and about working together as a team.
Written by: Midn 3/c Clarissa Schaffino