CTLT is conducted at many Army bases nationwide or in the Federal Republic of Germany or the Republic of Korea. This internship program places Cadets in actual Army units acting as real Lieutenants! This three to five week challenge is a definite learning experience, and allows Cadets to gain a perspective on what they will be facing as future officers. Generally, Cadets are placed in platoon leader positions, leading 30+ soldiers and responsible for millions of dollars of equipment!
By: CDT Ben Butler
I spent the latter part of my summer at Fort Knox, KY participating in Cadet Troop Leadership Training (CTLT). It was a great experience for me because it showed me what is expected from 2LT's and how an active duty unit works. I had more responsibilities than I expected due to the fact that there were no LT's for me to shadow, and I had to serve as an M1 Tank Platoon Leader for 3 weeks.
I was assigned to Alpha Troop, 1/16 Cavalry Regiment, and my Troop Commander took CTLT very seriously. I was held responsible for the 16 soldiers of 1st Platoon, six M1A1 tanks, and one deuce and a half truck. I was required to attend leaders' meetings every morning at 0600 and report on what 1st platoon had completed and the missions they were going to accomplish. I had to ensure that the six tanks in my platoon were FMC (Fully Mission Capable) at all times. There were many other tasks that had to be accomplished each day that kept me pretty busy.
Despite the job, CTLT wasn't all work. I was able to do some things that most ROTC Cadets don't get the chance to do. I had the opportunity to play around in the tank driver simulators (which make you sick), tank gunnery simulators, and I was even allowed to drive an M1 around the motor pool. It is surprisingly easy to control. I attended a CALFEX (Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise) in which all types of army weapons are displayed such as M1 Tanks, Apaches, and MLRS batteries. After the CALFEX, I went down to a range and fired a .50 caliber machine gun and an MK19 mounted on HMMWV's. I also experienced what happens when all safety precautions are not followed as shrapnel from a 155mm round came flying into the range I had left just seconds earlier, injuring one of the West Point Cadets that was there.
Overall, I think CTLT is a great program and would recommend it to everyone. I had to do more work than most Cadets, but I am definitely better off for it. I learned many things that I will take with me into my active duty career.