The United Kingdom Summer Camp, often referred to as the United Kingdom Officer Training Camp (UKOTC), is a three-week program hosted by our British Army ROTC counterparts. UKOTC provides Cadets the opportunity to conduct ROTC training with a foreign nation. The training is conducted at two locations: Cambridge and London.
The UKOTC program allows U.S. Army ROTC Cadets to interact with the Cadets and military students of other countries. A great deal of the training focuses on small unit tactics and individual training. Students participate in Military Operations in Urban Terrain training as well as a two-day FTX. Additionally, Cadets will participate in weapons training, rappelling and mountaineering. The Cadets fire on weapons ranges, train on branches of the Army, conduct "adventure" training and participate in a Field Training Exercise (FTX). The training period capstone is a 4.5-mile foot march with a full rucksack and weapon.
By: CDT Cheryl Graycarek
Each year, forty Cadets are chosen from around the nation to participate in a unique exchange between the U.S. Army ROTC and the United Kingdom’s OTC programs. While the U.K. sends a select group of their finest Officer Cadets to experience Warrior Forage, forty lucky American Cadets join British Cadets on their annual camp. As one of those fortunate participants, I trained with Cambridge University’s OTC this summer. I found this opportunity to be both rich in cultural experiences, unique in training, and a great way to meet some great soldiers from around the nation and around the world.
As a Cadet at this year’s C.U. OTC camp, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel around England and part of mainland Europe as part of the training. We trained at several military camps and bases, including St. Martin’s Plain in Folkstone, Bovington Armour Headquarters, Longmoor, and Bassenbourough near Cambridge. American and British Cadets alike were privileged to have a three-day battlefield tour of Market Garden included in this year’s annual camp. The tour brought Cadets through France and Belgium to Arnhem, Holland. Besides being a fun travel experience, this was an exceptional part of the training because it provided Cadets with a thorough history lesson taught on a site rather than from a textbook. The study of Market Garden was applicable to both British and American Cadets, mainly because as officers it is important for us to learn from military mistakes and victories of the past. Additionally, the operations in and around Arnhem involved, namely, the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions as well as British paratroopers. While in England, the U.S. Cadets also had the chance to do some sightseeing in London, Cambridge, and the Dover area.
I find the UKOTC to be really special because it differs so much from other training schools usually offered to Army Cadets. First, this is a rare opportunity that only forty MSII Cadets get each year. Second, the OTC training varies from year to year in what is taught. This summer’s camp put a great emphasis on urban operations. Activities included extensive training and firing of the standard British assault rifle, the SA-80, foreign weapons recognition, vehicle check points, cordons, the use of interpreters, arrest and restrain techniques, first aid, media operations, handling evidence, riot control, and a five day FTX. The FTX, which took place at Longmoor, in a realistic simulation of a peace-keeping mission in a war-torn country. Platoons of Cadets faced constant threat of sniper attacks, terrorist bombings, and unruly locals. While on 24-hour duty, Cadet troops carried out patrols, controlled riots, captured terrorists, and completed complicated missions—sometimes involving special attachments, such as armored vehicles or air support. Another distinctive part other the camp was specialized “wing,” or branch, training. American Cadets had the choice of infantry, artillery, engineering, or armor corps. I joined in the Royal Armour Corps training where we were briefed on the history and new developments on several of the British Army’s armored vehicles. We also trained on Challenger II driving and firing simulators, in addition to actually getting into several tanks and vehicles.
Throughout our time in Europe with the UKOTC, American Cadets were able to get a better idea of the active British Army and understand its mission in the world today.