ROTC Cadets look at a strange thing called a "map" and try to pretend they have some idea what they are doing.
FORT KNOX, KY — Despite widespread enthusiasm for the program, the United States Cadet Command dropped a bombshell early this morning when they announced the cancellation of planned deployments of Army ROTC and Service Academy cadets to active combat zones for their summer Cadet Troop Leadership Training (CTLT), after many went missing in Afghanistan and are now presumed dead.
"When we originally thought to send them downrange, we were kind of bandying about one Friday night down at Gilligan's," said Maj. Zachary Browneel, an Army spokesman. "Due to sequestration cutting down the amount of OCONUS locations that our cadets can be sent and the ever-changing face of modern warfare, we've decided that it would be a great idea to open up slots for cadets to be sent to Afghanistan on a rotational basis."
Browneel paused for a moment for effect before explaining, "Now, just to clarify, we were all a little bit drunk."
The spokesman went on to explain the precise method of choosing the cadets to be sent abroad was classified, but stressed that it was on a meritorious basis.
"Who we are looking for," explained Browneel, "Are cadets who have excelled in their military studies classes, particularly those who have been awarded the 'Ranger Challenge' tab or have been to West Point's Cadet Leadership Development Training. We need to look seriously at the matter and say, 'What kind of cadets would learn the most from shadowing 2nd Lieutenants and learn the basics of officership while simultaneously under imminent threat of bodily dismemberment?'"
When asked if they had studied the idea of sending untested officer candidates into life-and-death situations, Browneel responded by saying that the trial run of 25 cadets sent last summer ran into a few more problems than they had previously envisioned.
"Most of our cadets were either locked into a CHU while their officer was away, or dummy corded to a connex. Unfortunately, one of the candidates got lost while shadowing a patrol and they couldn't find him, but intel suggests he's probably somewhere in Pakistan now. We're pretty sure another either defected or was kidnapped by the Taliban while wandering outside the perimeter and admiring trees."
Maj. Browneel explained that in light of these circumstances, the plan for Combat Zone CTLT was to be canceled.
"Cadet Moon from West Point disappeared soon after yelling at a senior NCO for not saluting him, and we misplaced the other two in a mixup when their convoy got IED'd. Cadets are bad enough when they're left alone in their institutions of leadership excellence, but losing them is freaking expensive!"
On college campuses, most cadets were throughly upset at the missed chance to develop their personal leadership styles under fire.
"I'm pissed," said 3rd-year West Point cadet Gregory Mahan, "I mean, if I was given a choice between going to Ft. Polk or shadowing a route-clearance platoon leader in the Tangi Valley, I would pick Afghanistan every day of the week!"
Mahan then added in a conspiratorial tone, "There's no way it's any worse than having to clean my room when my Tactical Officer is inspecting."
Cadet Stephanie Mencia of Arizona State University, shared in the general enthusiasm. "I mean, it's totally a great way to stand above your peers," she exclaimed, "Just think of all the awesome pictures I could put on Facebook. My friends would be so jealous!"
Cadet Command has stated that a memorial service for the five missing candidates would be held at the National Cathedral next Saturday at 5 p.m.