The LSU Soccer Fields will become a landing zone at 11 a.m. today when the Bengal Raiders tactically storm the University.
Two Black Hawk helicopters will land on the field as part of a Bengal Raiders qualification course. The mission is an end of the semester culminating event in Raiders, said geology senior and Raiders Commanding Officer Cadet Robert Brown.
Potential raiders will run the mission to see if they are capable of handling the responsibilities of being a Raider, he said.
Members of the 244 Aviation Battalion Army National Guard will pilot the helicopters. When they land, the rudders will be turned off to ensure safety, Brown said.
The trainees will receive a quick class on unloading and loading the aircraft, and they will familiarize themselves with the helicopter and perform safety inspections, Brown said. Then they will fly to Slidell to complete the course.
“There will be a series of missions that follow that. … They will do a raid mission,” Brown said. “...We throw stuff at [the trainees] to see how they react on their feet.”
Reserve Officer Training Corps senior military instructor Master Sergeant Clay Usie said there are no safety concerns.
“Like all things we conduct in the Army, safety is our first and foremost concern,” Usie said. “It’s been approved all the way to the brigade level. With any training event, they are well-versed and trained.”
Usie said this is the first time the ROTC and the Bengal Raiders have partnered to conduct an operation with such advanced skill training.
Brown said this is the biggest test first-semester trainees will participate in.
“We do it every semester, but every time it changes, depending on who’s in charge. It’s usually not real large-scale. We’re moving to more large scale to make it more realistic,” Brown said.
Management junior Steven Honore, an ROTC Cadet and first-semester trainee, said he is looking forward to the mission.
“I’ve ridden in a Black Hawk helicopter before,” Honore said “… This is something I’ve been training for three years, so I’m pretty excited about it.”
The Bengal Raiders is a student organization that is voluntary and open to all students, Brown said.
To become a Raider, a person must complete two semesters of training. In the first semester, trainees don’t know much. Second-semester trainees help out first-semester trainees, Brown said. If they pass both, they become active Raiders.
Brown said Raiders is about going the extra mile.
“Your tactical knowledge is superior, physical fitness is superior, dedication is superior,” he said. “Your attention to detail and discipline is also superior. It’s taking the initiative to better yourself, not only as a cadet, but also as a person.”
While it is affiliated with the ROTC and primarily comprises cadets, it is a separate University organization, Brown said.
Usie said the Raiders has a mantra of combat-focused training for the young men and women who plan to serve in the United States military.
“It’s really refreshing to see so many motivated young Americans within this program that are actively wanting to serve given today’s environment across the world,"Usie said.