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Preparation key for Army’s largest intra-continental training exercise

Summer has arrived, and while most college juniors are spending the summer relaxing or working a part time job, 6,064 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets from universities across the country are preparing to make Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. their home for 29 intense days of leadership-infused training during the Leader Development and Assessment Course.

In full swing, there will be more than 10,000 Cadre and Cadets involved in the Army’s largest intra-continental training exercise. To accommodate the large influx of participants, extensive planning and preparation were needed months in advance.

“As soon as LDAC ended last year, the planning began for this year,” said Lt. Col. Robert B. Bashein, the 1st Regiment tactical officer.

Cadre members from the Leader Development and Assessment Course prepare briefings for the land navigation course June 10, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Beginning on June 13, thousands of Cadets from universities across the country will begin to arrive to take part in the annual Army ROTC officer corps rite of passage. (U.S. Army photo by Gary Tarelton)

Cadre members from the Leader Development and Assessment Course prepare briefings for the land navigation course June 10, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Beginning on June 13, thousands of Cadets from universities across the country will begin to arrive to take part in the annual Army ROTC officer corps rite of passage. (U.S. Army photo by Gary Tarelton)

Prior to Cadets arriving on base, there are many months of planning and conferences between 8th Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command, U.S. Army Forces Command and various LDAC committees. After the initial planning phase, Cadre complete a terrain walk through and inspect the land for potential safety hazards. Once everything passes inspection during final rehearsals, it’s time for the Cadets’ arrival.

An integral part of planning is getting the key leaders ready because they are responsible for ensuring things are done to standard, taking accountability for people as they came in, and managing and leading the process, said Joel B. Manning, the LDAC chief of staff and planning.

A lot of work goes into the execution of LDAC, said Lt. Col. Rob Boone, committee chief of basic rifle marksmanship and live fire. “We’re bringing people in from all over the U.S. whose primary function is to teach Cadets and to…communicate back and forth.”

One of the most difficult areas of preparation for this year’s course was basic rifle marksmanship, conducted for the first time since 2009.

Firearm products were made for the different ranges back in February and two weeks before the first Cadets arrived on base, asymmetric warfare group instructed the primary and alternate instructors how to do primary marksmanship instruction, said Boone. With training and weekend drills, all parties involved put in 80 hours of preparations.

“We do so many rehearsals that by the time the first regiment comes through, the Cadre will be ready to go,” said Boone. “It’s maintaining that momentum because you have 13 regiments, so you’re talking the same thing over and over again.”

All of the months and hours of preparations are now finally paying off. With the first two regiments on base, everything is set to run smoothly.

“We got here only seven days ago and over 50 Cadre came from different schools, different places and different programs,” said Bashein.  “Everyone is ready to receive Cadets, calibrated, and ready to go.”

Story by Allie Pasdera

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