Cadet Summer Training ROTC (CST) Tips & Tricks – Preventative Medicine


When I started with John Carroll University’s Wolfpack Army ROTC, I had just come off four years of being a First Sergeant and I really had to dial down to what is needed for SUCCESS at CST. Over the coming weeks I will post several idea’s to think about. Follow the page, share it with your fellow Cadets or Cadre.

I am starting with some tips for Preventative Medicine.  I’m not a doctor, just a grunt, but I do know if you can’t function due to a medical problem, you won’t get far in CST.

1. Poison Ivy: It’s everywhere. Upon contact (you will see raised red bums clustered together & itch). See a medic. Don’t wait, just do it (sick call is every morning in the field).

-Bring Calamine. It’s super cheap. Dries it up.

-If it spreads see medic, get Prednisone (the only thing that will across cure it) and Zanfel (ask for it).

-Wash with hard (lye heavy) soap, a lot!

2. Chiggers: They are scattered, but you will get them. They usually bite around the tops of your boot. Horribly itchy. Don’t fret! By the time you start itching, they are gone. Now it’s just itch control.

-Chiggerex 2x is sold at Walmart, relieves the itch well.

-Medics can give Zanfel (it’s for poison ivy, but works) or Hydrocortisone. Histamine blockers like Benadryl work too; only take at night!

Again, the chiggers are gone by the time you feel them.   So don’t bother with any of those home remedies.

3. Deep Woods Off: That’s it… Nothing else. Buy Deep Woods Off. No natural stuff, no citronella. Deep Woods Off (green can).  Spray your boots blouse, waist band, wrists and neck twice a day minimum.

4. Ticks: I have heard horror stories, but have only seen two.  If you get one go tell your PTO.  They will evacuate you to higher medical care where it will be removed and tested.

5. Boots: Ok, so your unit is going to issue you boots. But lets be real, they may not be the best boots in the world or fit perfectly. My advice is to go by a pair or two of really good boots. I personally recommend for Cadets the Nike Combat Boot. runs a round $100. The boot is built on a shoe platform, so great for someone that isn’t marching everyday (I don’t recommend for an Infranty Soldier- not durable enough). Point is your feet are your transportation. If you can’t walk… You are not making it through CST.

6. Socks. So along with boots go socks. You must keep your feet dry. Change your socks when ever your feet get wet! I personally like the Green Army Issue sock. Foot powder is great for keeping the kicks happy, but once it rains or you step in a puddle/stream/lake/ocean, change your socks.

Hope I didn’t scare anyone… It’s not that bad. Biggest threat is actually the heat.

~ MSG Achterberg

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