Physical Training (PT) is a large part of the Army ROTC cadet life for contracted cadets. Improved physical health contributes to better overall mental and emotional well-being, as well as better attitude and self-confidence. Typically, each PT session involves some sort of upper-body muscle-building activity followed by a cardiovascular endurance activity - always accompanied by proper stretching and warm-ups.
All of the physical training is tested with the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), consisting of 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a timed 2-mile run. To pass the APFT you must score 60 points in each event as a minimum or you can try to reach the maximum score of 300 and earn the Physical Fitness Patch that is worn on the Army PT uniform.
Cadets attending LDAC must successfully pass the administered Combat Water Survival Test (CWST) prior to going. CWST will be administered at LDAC as a validation event. Cadets must swim a total continuous time of 10 minutes using any combination of four strokes (breast, side, crawl, back). There is no associated distance with this requirement. After a minimum 10-minute rest, the cadet will tread water for 5 continuous minutes. Cadets who do not complete the CWST will complete this prior to commissioning with the Palmetto Battalion.
Labs provide practical experience in leadership, military drill and command in order to develop and strengthen the traits of initiative, self-confidence and discipline. Labs stress the practical application of skills and techniques that are learned in the classroom. They provide a forum for developing cadets and the opportunity for challenges in an outdoor environment. Important military skills are taught in lab that include basic rifle marksmanship (BRM), land navigation (LN), individual and squad tactics. Labs are held every Thursday from 1550-1750 and are a mandatory part of your training. Experience shows that Army Cadets who participate in the total ROTC program are more likely to succeed at LDAC and will reach their full potential.
After a full year of training it all culminates in the Battalion Field Training Exercises (FTX). The Palmetto Battalion attends two FTXs every school year which are held at Ft Jackson, S.C. The Cadet Chain of Command plans the simulated combat missions and will lead most of them, while the sophomores get their first chance to demonstrate what they have learned as they lead some of the combat missions. Freshman cadets will get their first taste of simulated combat that includes food and sleep deprivation. All in all it is vigorous training, but well worth the effort when you have successfully completed each FTX.