Standing around in a circle waiting for the order to load the buses, 12th regiment Cadets nervously shifted their feet back and forth as they causally chatted with other students on their July Fourth arrival date.
Flying in from all over the country, they shared mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement about the Leader Development and Assessment Course they were on their way to attend at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
“I figure it is the best day to show up at LDAC,” said 12th Reg. Cadet Aidan Fahnestock of Claremont McKenna College. “It’s a good way to celebrate America’s birthday.”
Cadets arrived at LDAC to train to become officers in an Army that has been a significant part of the country’s history since the U.S. gained its independence from the British in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
“It is a good time to remember why America is as it is right now,” said 12th Reg. Cadet Chrystal Chase of Colorado State University.
Cadets of 11th Regiment grabbed a bagged lunch as they boarded the bus from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, groggy from their morning flights.
Once on board, students sat two by two chatting with whoever sat down next to them, asking questions of each other to pass the time. Others shut their eyes and put in headphones, hoping to get just a little more sleep on the bumpy ride.
“It’s another day in the life of being in the Army,” said 11th Reg. Cadet Brian Wong of Northeastern University. “Normally I’d be hanging out with my girlfriend and watching fireworks, but this is also a pretty good alternative.”
After arriving at JBLM, Cadets filed off the buses, separating into their regiments to begin in-processing. They spend the rest of the day going through different stations such as equipment issue and necessary paperwork.
As future Army commissioned officers, Cadets remember the trials and tribulations that took place this day 237 years ago for a new nation, the same nation they fight for still today.
“It reminds me of what our Founding Fathers did,” said 11th Reg. Cadet Lauren Graham of Arizona State University. “We are just learning how to defend the freedom of our country.”
With barbeques and fireworks in the back of their minds, the Cadets inched closer to this year’s LDAC, but it was clearly a sacrifice they were willing to make.
“I think sometimes we forget how unique and important this country is,” said Fahnestock. “I think it is good that each year we take some time to remember all the blood, sweat and tears that help make this country great.”
Story by Sara Nahrwold