At 3 a.m. on Nov. 3, Florida Tech Army ROTC cadets began preparing for the land navigation portion of their field training exercises. By 3:45 a.m, they set out onto the dark course.
The goal of the FTX, as field training exercises are referred to within ROTC, was to get cadets into a field environment where they could apply what they have learned, according to senior John Panik, the S3 of Panther Battalion.
The S3 is a leadership role that requires a significant commitment to the planning of Panther Battalion operations like FTX.
The FTX were cadet-led, with minimal intervention from the cadre, or the complement of instructors responsible for training cadets.
Panik said that this self-led method prepares cadets in the third year and beyond with direct experience to prepare them for their leadership roles as commissioned officers. First and second year cadets learn from them.
Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Crook, a military instructor with Army ROTC, elaborated on the requirements of the land navigation exercise.
“They had to find points in the night, turn in their points and check them,” Crook said. “And as the light came up, they had to find more points in the daylight.”
Panik said that land navigation is also an exercise in self-discipline, requiring cadets to maintain precision when plotting and staying on their paths.
Crook explained that in exercises like these, cadets are to treat instances of failure or incomplete success as learning opportunities. An after action report acts as a forum for cadets and cadre to go over successes and failures as a group, then formulate plans to improve.
“They saw where their errors were, so they had that immediate feedback of ‘This is what I did wrong, and this is what I can do better next time,’” said Sergeant First Class Jeremy Brandon, a military instructor with Army ROTC.
“It gave them a boost of confidence,” Brandon said. “They know what they need to do, and they also know how to go back and correct the errors that they made.”
Panik said that one of the duties of a leader is to address issues or challenges efficiently and correctly.
High temperatures presented one of these challenges on the morning of Nov. 2.
“We found it challenging to mitigate the heat,” Crook said, adding that cadets had a substantial amount of equipment to carry. “They had approximately 35 to 50 pounds on their back.”
They addressed the heat by taking a one-hour rest. Panik said that he came up with a plan to use the time wisely, bouncing it off of other leaders and putting it into place.
He emphasized the importance of being “able to keep a level head, not get frustrated, remain calm and being able to immediately start focusing on resolving the issue.”
“It’s one of those skills that’s hard to develop unless you’re in that situation,” Panik said.
Crook said multiple schools will meet for the spring semester’s field training exercises, which will focus on a platoon formation. The fall exercises focused on squad formation.
This training progression is targeted to cadets in the third year of the program.
“By the time we get to the end of the spring, we’ve put together all the pieces they’ll need to be successful at [cadet summer training] at Fort Knox,” Brandon said.
Crook explained that having multiple schools meet tests cadets’ ability to lead in a variety of situations.
“It gets easy to lead the same people,” Crook said. “It’s a challenge when you have to lead new people.”
“The [senior year] is almost like an internship in leadership,” Brandon said. “We’re giving them a job to do where they are putting into practice all the things we’ve been teaching them up to that point, and they have the responsibility of guiding and leading.”
This is intended to prepare cadets to be a commissioned lieutenant who is a “trained and ready” leader.
“A cadet in this program knows that our country is at war,” Crook said. “They know, upon graduation, they are going to serve in the Army. They know more than likely, they will serve in a combat area.”
He emphasized that the applications of their skills are real, and that their decision making will matter.
“They know that the skills that they’re learning, in a field training exercise today, for our seniors, could be six months from now when they’re on the battlefield,” Crook said.
Evans Library embraced the Gothic style of Edgar Allen Poe on Nov. 1 for the most recent Reel Reads event, “Poe’s Spooktacular Tales: From Page to Scream.”
Reel Reads is a literature and film series hosted by Florida Tech’s School of Arts and Communication.
Poe established himself as a notable writer and editor in the mid-19th century, according to the Academy of American Poets.
“It’s a great tie-in to do it around Halloween,” said Debbie Lelekis, an English professor at Florida Tech. “Edgar Allen Poe was a natural selection for that.”
He was also prolific in the Gothic horror genre. Lelekis, along with fellow English professors Melissa Crofton and Angela Tenga, presented an analysis of Poe’s works and their modern adaptations.
During the analysis, Crofton explained that Poe’s works often resonates with her students.
The professors then opened the floor for audience members to speak about their personal interest in Poe’s work or how they discovered him.
“He exposes us for what humans fear,” Lelekis said regarding the value of Poe’s works. “We can make connections to our own lives.”
Poe’s presence in modern pop culture was a focus of the panel.
Clips were shown of Netflix’s “Altered Carbon,” a series that features an artificially intelligent character modeled after Poe.
A trailer for “The Raven,” a 2012 film where Poe is portrayed by John Cusack, was also shown.
In the film, Poe must work to prevent a serial killer from recreating the deaths from his literary works.
“The Cask of Amontillado” is one of those works, a story of one man taking fatal revenge on a friend he believes has wronged him.
Cheryl Davis, Evans Library’s distance learning librarian, took to the podium twice to read excerpts from “The Cask of Amontillado.”
Victoria Smith, Evans’ resource sharing specialist, gave a reading of “The Raven.”
“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,” she began the poetry reading in a resonant tone.
In pop culture, many of the details of Poe’s personal life are disputed, leaving many aspects of his biography unclear.
“I think most of his stories intrigue people partly because of [that] mystery surrounding Poe himself,” Lelekis said.
She said that his works help people to examine human nature.
“It helps us understand ourselves better, which is something everyone needs to do no matter what your major is or what your career path is,” Lelekis said.
Adolescence is well-documented in music as the time in our lives that we are stuck in Whatever-town, USA, feeling invincible.
The one thing that’s harder to write music about is what comes next: our early 20s.
Nine Inch Nails’ “Pretty Hate Machine” details this phase of life with vulnerable lyrical content laid over a foundation of alternative rock and—perhaps more unexpectedly—80s dance music.
The album just turned 30 this October, and it’s as powerful as ever.
By the time we hit our 20s, we are much more free to choose where we are and what we do, yet we can still get lost in the search for our identities.
We may not know what it is we want to do, and we may struggle to understand why the people or forces in our lives do what they do.
While “Pretty Hate Machine” doesn’t answer these questions, it certainly details that confusion, and the personal growth that comes with it, with refreshing poignancy.
For the sake of cathartic listening, that might be more important than answers. “Really, ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ was born from tinkering around in the studio at night,” frontman Trent Reznor told Kory Grow of Rolling Stone in 2019.
Reznor was the sole official member of the band until the addition of English musician and composer Atticus Ross in 2016.
The pair are longtime collaborators, with much of their work consisting of film scoring.
They won the Oscar for “Best Original Score” in 2010 for “The Social Network.”
“I was up above it/now I’m down in it.”
The “it” in “Pretty Hate Machine’s” debut single, “Down In It,” is never specified, but there are plenty of high places in life that one can come crashing down from.
The so-very-80s dance beat contrasts with the themes of loss of identity and change, which come to a head in the concluding lyric: “And what I used to think was me, is just a fading memory/I looked him right in the eye and said goodbye.”
A debut album is a special thing. It exists without any expectations based on previous albums or a band’s public persona; there’s a unique honesty to a first album.
Reznor touched on this honesty in the same Rolling Stone interview: “Once I got over the hump of, ‘I could never say that out loud to other people,’ there was an authenticity and truthfulness that I think resonated.”
It must have resonated, as nine full-length albums later, the band is 13-time Grammy nominated, and is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee for the third time.
The album itself was remastered and repackaged in 2010.
Those following albums from Nine Inch Nails show no hesitation on personal or controversial subjects.
This initial pursuit of authenticity on “Pretty Hate Machine” opened the door for more aggressive albums like its 1994 successor, “The Downward Spiral,” and its themes of identity and one’s relationship with the world are prominent in 2004’s “With Teeth.”
And just as the album must have come, in part, out of the sounds of bands like Depeche Mode, its influence can be heard today—in some surprising places.
In 2019, the Netflix series “Black Mirror” featured a pop remix of opening track “Head Like a Hole” performed by Miley Cyrus.
Rapper Ghostemane’s 2018 album “N/O/I/S/E” echoes “Pretty Hate Machine” in synth selections and lyrical content. “Pretty Hate Machine” endures as the first glimpse into the influential industrial project Nine Inch Nails would become.
This album came out before Nine Inch Nails found their fame, and before Reznor and Ross became awardwinning film composers.
It is the work of a 20-something guy working as a janitor at a recording studio, figuring out who he was as a songwriter.
As 20-somethings figuring out who we are in our own lives, “Pretty Hate Machine” is a powerful work of music.
A gray sky sheds rain
It waits while classes meet
Storms again after
Open the day’s lunch
Pausing from tasks and “to do”
A most welcome rest
While college students’ summer plans often consist of vacations or summer classes, Florida Tech Army ROTC students had another atypical break.
They completed rigorous training camps and
internships, traveled with cultural programs and attended specialized schools like Airborne School or Air Assault School.
Isiah Mossiah, a senior studying molecular biology, completed advanced camp at Fort Knox in Kentucky.
The camp was a 31-day training course Mossiah described as “a culmination of our previous three years of ROTC training.”
Cadetcommand.army.mil states that the mission of advanced camp is to assess a cadet’s potential to serve as a commissioned officer. It lists highlights of the training event, including first aid, a field leader’s reaction course and tactics training.
Mossiah said that cadets are put into platoons of 40-45 people, and are constantly evaluated by cadres—the officers responsible for the training of cadets.
He discussed field training exercises, explaining that the first is cadreled, while the others were completed independently for purposes of evaluation.
They also completed road marches of up to 12 miles.
“You have a 35 pound ruck on your back, and you have to make a certain time requirement,” Mossiah said.
He added that many exercises are pass or fail, and that cadets must pass to continue in the course.
Cadets are ranked at the end of the training.
This ranking influences their placement in the Army later on.
Mossiah said the training gave him valuable experience in communication with a diverse group.
He said it gave him the opportunity to compare and contrast his leadership skills with others, then use that to communicate more effectively across a group.
Sergeant First Class Arsenio Rodriguez, a military instructor with Florida Tech Army ROTC, said cadets completed summer training in Africa and South America through the Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program.
According to cadetcom-mand.army.mil, CU&LP
completely immerses cadets into another culture, improving their cultural awareness.
“They get to work with cadets that are in the same role as they are, but just in a different country, and they get to experience a day in the life of how they function and what their training consists of,” Rodriguez said.
He said some cadets attended Airborne School, a three week course which includes military parachutist training.
Others attended Air Assault School, a 10 day course which Sergeant First Class Jeremy Brandon, a military instructor with Florida Tech Army ROTC, described as “physical and mental.”
“You learn all about the capabilities and limitations of all the different rotary wing aircraft,” Brandon said.
goarmy.com states that the course is designed to prepare soldiers for missions that call for the use of transportation and assault helicopters.
Brandon said he thinks the biggest benefit of summer training is the real-world experience, where cadets are able to apply the theory they have learned, and “work through problems in a way that you can’t really simulate in a classroom or laboratory environment.”
He said these concrete experiences prepare students for the responsibility and depth of knowledge required of a lieutenant before they are commissioned into the Army.
Going forward into the fall semester, Rodriguez said cadets will gain more out-of-classroom experience in field training exer-
“They get to spend two nights out in the woods,” he said. “It lets us evaluate them as leaders and how they perform under stress.”
The field training exercises are planned for the first week of November.
Alternative rock veterans the Pixies took to a converted church to record their seventh album, “Beneath the Eyrie.”
The influence of gothic styles and indie tones supplement the albums alt-rock core, bringing unique accents to the Pixies’ signature sound.
The Pixies turn to their expert use of dynamics throughout the album, showcasing a balanced interaction of quiet and loud.
The few tracks that do not stand on their own are still part of the album’s excellent production, maintaining a cohesive sound all the way through.
“In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain” opens the album with a perfectly blended mix of crystal clear percussion, grungy guitars and rich, crackling vocals.
It sets a vibe that brings words like “creepy” and “sinister” to mind.
The lead single “On Graveyard Hill” continues the gothic sound and theme the group intended for the album, according to lead vocalist Charles Thompson IV, widely known by his stage name Black Francis.
The sound is much more ‘90s than 2010s.
Pez Lenchantin’s work on the bass is outstanding here, and provides a backbone that encourages the listener to groove along with the “In the witching hour/In the witching hour” hook.
The gothic feeling is lifted, if only temporarily, with “Catfish Kate,” a bright, indie tune paired with a vivid music video to match.
The next track, “This Is My Fate,” pulls things right back into the dark style.
The precise mixture of bass and piano provides a deep, bouncing sound in the background, reminiscent of an upright bass.
“Silver Bullet” is excellently produced and creative, a shift from the measured, predictable “Ready for Love.”
One of the most outstanding features of “Silver Bullet” is its powerful guitar riff.
While the rest of the song has a generally calm demeanor, with soft guitars and relaxed percussion from David Lovering, this fueled-up riff brings power and substance.
In that sense, it is a classic Pixies track; the group has dynamics down to science, shifting from quiet to loud at just the right time.
The converted church setting the Pixies recorded in seems fitting when listening to a track like “Los Surfers Muertos,” and when looking back at the Pixies’ previous work.
As primary songwriter, Francis has long gravitated towards biblical imagery, dark aesthetics and unusual topics.
Unusual is a fitting term for “Bird of Prey” when compared to the album as a whole; behind the dark timbres of Francis’ vocals and Joey Santiago’s lead guitar, an almost country-like rhythm guitar fills out the sound space.
It is especially noticeable in the chorus and refrain, as the phrase “little birdie” is repeated softly.
The second-to-last track, “Daniel Boone,” maintains the dark aesthetic of the album, but ventures into brighter tones and timbres.
It is a relaxing track well-suited for a long drive, or even to sleep; while the song is not boring, its swelling, atmospheric instrumentals could definitely lull the listener to an indie-induced sleep.
Things are sealed off with the gothic-indie tune “Death Horizon.”
Bright vocal harmonies contradict the song title, and the instrumental is simple and well-blended. It is a short and sweet ending to the album.
Throughout this album, unexpected sounds and instruments come into play, while other instruments are measured and perfected.
While one or two tracks act more as atmospheric fillers than stand alone tracks, these are contrasted by strong tracks like “Silver Bullet” and “This Is My Fate.”
The album as a whole features creative choices and masterful songwriting.
“Beneath the Eyrie” sounds like the work of mature, experienced alt-rockers.
Florida Tech Fall
Pumpkin drinks in hand
Fall leaves instead are palm trees
Midterms end summer
Alarm is chirping
A ten minute walk to class
Forgot the text book