Thirteen cadets from the Northern Marianas College’s Reserve Officers Training Corps program returned from Guam after participating in the semi-annual Field Training Exercise, or FTX, with the University of Guam ROTC program.
The four-day exercise exposed the NMC cadets to U.S. military weapons, combat movements and patrols, and tactical decision-making. The NMC cadets carried ruck sacks and maneuvered across the arduous jungle terrain at the Radio Barrigada Training Area.
According to Lt. Col. Thomas Anderson, professor of Military Science for NMC and UOG ROTC, the NMC cadets performed extremely well and held their own in comparison to the over 70 UOG cadets at the FTX. “The NMC cadets came to Guam extremely motivated,” Anderson said, “and after enduring the necessary quarantine, they met up with their teammates from UOG and gave it their all to support their teammates, despite the extreme heat and physically and mentally strenuous training. I’m so proud of them.”
Several of the NMC cadets returned to Saipan with prestigious awards in hand from their performance during the FTX. Lewis Camacho earned recognition as the “Hero of the Battle” for the NMC cadets, and Andy Magofna earned recognition as NMC’s “Top Cadet” during the FTX. Mariah Katelyn Gapasin was honored as NMC’s “Most Motivated Cadet.” Camacho was also named “Top Freshman” in his combined NMC/ROTC platoon, and Anderson noted that Camacho has “incredible future leadership potential.”
NMC sophomore Frannie Manibusan, who led the NMC cadets in their journey to Guam, said, “We did our best to be prepared, and I just tried to encourage everyone to do the best they can. …After experiencing FTX, it really showed us our strengths and weaknesses, and upon returning to Saipan, it makes us more determined to work harder and push past our limits.”
Magofna said, “I just kept trying to strive forward and never back down. I saw everything as a challenge, and I learned so much from my peers at the FTX.”
Like Magofna and Manibusan, Camacho was grateful to attend the training. “It was an amazing experience getting to know all of the UoG cadets, and applying everything we learned in the classroom at NMC in the field,” he said. “I just want to say thank you to the NMC ROTC cadre for putting their faith in us and coordinating for our flights to Guam and the training at the FTX.”
Gapasin noted that “I stayed motivated and kept telling myself, ‘If they can do this, you can do this.’ I knew the other cadets were struggling as much as I was, and I shouldn’t be thinking about myself.”
At the completion of the FTX, the UOG senior cadets treated all of the participants to a barbecue, where they all celebrated the lessons they had learned and the team that had been built during the training.
Besides Manibusan, Magofna, Camacho, and Gapasin, the other NMC ROTC cadets who completed the training exercise were Noel Cabrera, John Dimalanta, John Bautista, Vanessa Falig, Mariah Katelyn, Tyrell Ngewakl, Kelvin Ordonez, Jeffrey Seo, Daryll De Luna, and Jan Socorro.
NMC’s ROTC program is the premiere leadership development program in the CNMI, producing dynamic leaders for the CNMI, the Pacific, and the United States of America. For more information on NMC’s ROTC program, visit www.marianas.edu. (NMC)