Story by Whitney Allen
Feature Photo by Melissa Scott
Cadet Summer Training began with a small bump in the road for forty LDAC Cadets. Ten miles before reaching Fort Knox Cadets heard a loud “pop.” This wasn’t a drill, but perhaps an off-site patience test. A bus tire had popped and Cadets had to wait for another bus to come back for them.
Cadets joked this may be a “bad omen” for what’s to come. After some laughs and small talk to pass the time, the incident was chalked up to be the Cadets’ first impromptu test of patience and heat tolerance.
In the essence of expecting the unexpected, Cadet Elise Reed of the Virginia Military Institute said she’s not sure what to expect this summer. “There’s always mixed reviews when people come back (from LDAC training),” Reed said. “You have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
Even those who have gone through LDAC previously are expecting the unexpected. 2d Lt. Samantha Rowe, who now serves as a mentor to Cadets, completed LDAC last summer at Fort Lewis. Rowe said there have been changes in the evaluation process and additional changes can be expected along the way.
In contrast to several LTC Cadets who admitted to feeling nervous, LDAC Cadets appeared prepared and goal-oriented. Cadet Olivia McQuail of Georgetown University is planning to go to the Medical Services Corps.
“This is the focus of all of our training for three years, this is the last hurdle,” McQuail said.
Cadets expressed varying reasons as to why they chose the ROTC route to become an officer. Cadet Jeffery McCormack of Georgia Military College at Milledgeville said his motivation for joining ROTC was simply because it was the best option for him.
McQuail, on the other hand, always knew she wanted to be an Army officer. “My whole family is in the Army so this is kind of predestined,” McQuail said.
Whether they joined to help pay for college or to pursue a lifelong military career, nearly one thousand Cadets arrived on Friday to begin LDAC training.
Perhaps, next year some of these very same Cadets will be back at Fort Knox leading new Cadets through training, just like 2d Lt. Rowe. “It’s nice to be able to mentor the next class coming up. I had good mentors, I want the Cadets to also have good mentors,” Rowe said.
In the meantime, the Cadets can adjust to expecting the unexpected.