Asst. Professors of Military Science Step Up


UC Berkeley cadets conduct basic rifle marksmanship (BRM) at the Fort Hunter-Liggett range.

Majors Dan Morse, Tim Murray, Jen Nam, Ben Raphael, Matt Sardo, and Capt. Greg Dempsey took the lead on training a select group of Cadets at the University of California – Berkeley during the 2020 summer session, providing much needed relief for the short-handed active duty (AD) staff. 

These Reserve officers serve as Assistant Professors of Military Science (APMS) in the 4-414th Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (SROTC) Battalion, a unit that supports university SROTC programs with Reserve instructors to supplement the school’s AD cadre. The US Army Cadet Command (USACC) allots the Berkeley SROTC program four officer and NCO billets, but for the latter half of 2020 they were able to fill only one of the four positions; the O-5/LTC Professor of Military Science (PMS) billet.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USACC elected to conduct Cadet Summer Training (CST), traditionally held in person at Fort Knox, in a distributed manner. USACC tasked subordinate units across the country with executing this distributed training through an exercise named Operation Agile Leader (OAL). OAL is intended to certify rising college senior Cadets on the required BOLC-A common core tasks which are normally part of CST Advanced Camp training. Additionally, OAL qualifies lateral entry Cadets, who would have attended Basic Camp, for enrollment in advanced SROTC courses. The Reserve APMS team at Berkeley supported all OAL training and, most notably, they shouldered the workload for all Basic Camp requirements allowing the PMS to focus on Advanced Camp.

Cadets prepare for patrol base operations during OAL. TF NorCal – UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco, and Santa Clara University – cadets arrive at the BRM range.

The Reserve APMS team at Berkeley planned, resourced, and executed OAL’s distributed Basic Camp entirely through virtual coordination across the six instructors. Basic camp consisted of 36 blocks of instruction within seven learning modules: The US Army, Leadership and Ethics, Map Reading and Land Navigation, First Aid, Troop Leading Procedures, Tactics and Patrolling, Communications. The team of Reserve APMS officers delivered these training and associated exams within a single week, deconflicting daily instruction across their various civilian work schedules. The individual APMS team brought with them not only distinct military backgrounds and experiences, but different teaching styles and perspectives as well. In a post camp survey for the Berkeley PMS, one of the Cadets commented that the APMS team’s “instruction of content was enriched by personal experiences, making this training more helpful and meaningful; I feel more prepared to continue my ROTC training and become an Army Officer.”

Task Force NorCal cadets on patrol during OAL. Maj. Dan Morse (4-414th SROTC) gives feedback to a MS4 cadet after a platoon STX during OAL.

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