As ROTC cadets look back on their time at U.S. Army Cadet Command’s premier summer training programs, they are proud of their accomplishments as team members and as leaders of fellow cadets.
All told, close to 7,000 students graduated this summer from the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and the Leader’s Training Course (LTC) at Fort Knox, Ky.
Logan McKenzie, a cadet with LTC’s Delta Company, said teamwork was a daily chore, especially when taking orders from his peers.
"Once they get in charge, some people get power hungry," LTC Echo Company Cadet Wando Davis said.
Nonetheless, cadets learned to practice teamwork, even in minor things, like sharing washing machines and avoiding cliques.
Cadet Moses Shin, originally from South Korea, said avoiding conflict with other cadets was one of the biggest challenges of LTC.
He said this was especially difficult during waterborne operations when his Zodiac raft team came in last during the races on account of not paddling in unison.
"When everyone is trying to be a leader, it is kind of hard to take control," Shin said.
LDAC Cadet Eugene Breaux, from the University of Arkansas, found that "being able to be with a group of people like this, knowing that you’re all going to be future leaders" was an invaluable experience throughout his time at LDAC.
At LDAC, regiments of roughly 450 cadets each arrived in pairs starting June 11.
For some Cadets, like Brady James of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, bonds began to form instantly.
"I got a huge opportunity to make some really good friends," James said.
Adding, "We just laughed all the time – I mean, that’s what you have to do when you’re training 24/7."
During LDAC, cadets build confidence in many areas that will affect their lives in the military. They are building confidence in their own capabilities, in their squad’s capabilities and in the capabilities of their equipment.
"I’ve grown here and my confidence has grown," Cadet Aabett Powell, Michigan State University, said.
Adding, "Everything has developed here at LDAC, and I’m definitely going to take that with me and continue to develop as a second lieutenant."
Coming to LTC from the atmosphere of a college campus was quite a challenge for Delta Cadet Joseph Hernandez.
College life emphasizes the individual, he said, while LTC emphasizes the team.
The 18-year-old cadet said, despite the intensity of the course, he dealt with the situations and learned a lot about himself.
"You can always give just a little bit more," he said.
Hernandez said his squad started to come together as a team after it was forced to do disciplinary push-ups because of a cadet who bought candy at the PX against direct orders.
Alpha Company Cadet Katherine Moritz was pleased with her performance as a leader. She received the Armed Forces Bank Performance Award, which is presented to a cadet who is qualified to enter the ROTC advanced course.
"I learned to speak up and lead with confidence during rotations as squad leader," Moritz said.
LTC Echo Company Cadet John Carlisle has been part of two training cycles because of a shoulder injury he suffered during his second day of training while doing push-ups with Delta Company.
But, he said, the camaraderie of his platoon kept his spirits up.
Cadet Lacey Sovern, Florida Institute of Technology, attributed her success at LDAC to her confidence. She found this to be her most fundamentally important factor in completing the course.
"Confidence is key here," Sovern said. "If you have confidence, then your fellow cadets will have confidence in your leadership skills."