LAWRENCE — Army ROTC cadets from the University of Kansas Jayhawk Battalion will be catching a ride to Fort Riley on Black Hawk helicopters this week.
On, Thursday, April 20, 100 cadets will be airlifted as part of a joint training exercise. Two UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters will land and take off from the Shenk Sports Complex, Iowa Street and Clinton Parkway.
The helicopters and aircrews are from the A Co. 108th Aviation Kansas Army National Guard.
“Our spring field training exercise (FTX) is one of the most important events of the year. Our cadets test their leadership skills as they apply what they learned in a classroom setting to the rigors of a field environment. Additionally, they are very excited about the experience of flying in Army helicopters for the first time," said Lt. Col. Tracey Olson, KU Army ROTC professor of military science. "We owe it to our future leaders to introduce them to the various Army capabilities as much as possible. Opportunities like these will help shape their opinions as they decide on what military career path they will pursue."
At approximately 11 a.m., the cadets will march from the Military Science Building, 1520 Summerfield Hall Drive, to the sports complex.
The Black Hawks will transport cadets in two groups to Fort Riley for exercises, with flights departing at approximately noon and 2 p.m.
Members of the media and public wishing to view the exercise are welcome to do so from two areas: adjacent to parking lot 218 on the south side of the sports complex and parking lot 301 north of the complex. Both can be accessed via the intersection of Crestline Drive and Clinton Parkway. For their safety, visitors must stay off the field itself.
The KU Army ROTC program is home to cadets from not only KU but also from Washburn University, the University of Saint Mary, MidAmerica Nazarene University, Baker University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Johnson County Community College, and Kansas City, Kansas Community College.
KU is one of just 50 universities in the nation offering an ROTC program that represents all branches of the military.
Photo: ROTC students complete a training exercise with Blackhawk helicopters piloted from Fort Riley Army Base in this 2015 photo from KU Marketing Communications.