Graduates and new officers look forward to joining the 1 percent
Story by Kayla Boyd
Feature Photo by Harrison Hill
It’s a job only one percent of the population performs and Cadets from 5th and 6th Regiments are now one step closer to joining the elite few after their graduation from Leader Development Assessment Course on July 15.
Bravo Company 5th Regiment Cadet Andrew Thompson of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. didn’t have family attend graduation, but he thought his mom would be watching the live-streamed event online. Although he was excited to graduate, he was grateful for his time spent at LDAC and planned to use much of his training at his university.
“I think the biggest thing I’ll take back is the multitude of ideas, the cross-training between different Cadets from all over the country,” Thompson said. “A lot of guys and girls get trained differently and when we all come together, you know we can always help improve each other.”
Thompson won’t return home as most of his fellow Cadets will. Instead, he will stay in Fort Knox and become a Cadre member for Leader Training Course.
“Peer leadership is one of the hardest forms of leadership so being able to lead your peers successfully is an awesome skill to be able to hone in on and perfect,” he said. “I’m actually going to be an LTC cadre coming up here so I’m looking forward to doing that. You know, getting my time in, helping younger cadets, learning the ropes of Cadet Command.”
Sixth Regiment Cadet Catherine Ambrosich of James Madison University in Harrionsburg, Va. said she’s looking forward to not standing in formation.
“It’s a raging good time!” She said. “The road to the gold bar is almost over.”
While most Cadets graduated from LDAC and in fact have more time before commissioning, 35 Cadets entered the Army as 2nd Lts. in a ceremony held a short distance from graduation.
Separating the graduating and commissioning ceremonies allowed the latter to be more personal and close knit. Cadets became Lieutenants as they recited the Oath for Commissioning Officers. One by one, their ranks were pinned to their shoulders and they accepted a certificate. Then they received their first salute.
Second Lt. Melissa Fish of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, received her first salute from her father, retired Sergeant Melvin Fish. Her mother pinned on her shoulder boards.
“It was challenging at times, it definitely made you question your abilities and put your limits to the test,” Fish said. “But it definitely was a character-defining moment and I’m glad to have made it to this point and have my family here to see it.”
Second Lt.Whitney Lindsay graduated from the University of Washington. Her husband, an active duty Army officer, pinned her.
“He was not my first salute but he did pin me,” Lindsay said. “It was great. I was a military spouse for three years before I actually went into ROTC so I always did the pinning for him so this is the first time it was a role reversal.”
Lindsay plans to return to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas with her husband and 3-year-old son. She’ll await her branch assignment, which she should find out in September.
“I’m trying to compete for active duty, hoping to get Aviation but we’ll see,” Lindsay said.
First Lt. Dominic Smyth, a Chaplain candidate with the Chaplain Corps, looked on with pride at the Cadets-turned-Lieutenants he got to know over the past month.
“It was remarkably awesome to see,” Smyth said. “I have journeyed with these Cadets from the very first day they got here. I’m just feeling fantastic because seeing a group of young people who are zealous and willing to be a part of this United States Army, to serve their country and to serve their people, it’s just so wonderful and it’s so uplifting for me. Just to be here and see them graduate. It gives me a sense of hope for our future.”
Second Lt. Thompson should be sure to share at least one piece of advice with his LTC Cadets. According to 2nd Lt. Fish, everyone has their own experience and nothing is impossible.
“My journey was untraditional because I went through LTC last year,” Fish said. “I came in late, I was a late bloomer, so don’t think that one path is the only path in order to get to this endpoint. Everyone’s unique, everyone has their own experience, so make it your own and just love it.”