By Whitney Allen
Feature Photo by Melissa Scott
Nine hundred sixteen cadets stood in formation for the last time as a unit when cadets of the 9th and 10th Regiments of LDAC graduated on July 26 at Brooks Field.
Following the opening prayer and national anthem, Brigadier General (promotable) Peggy Combs, Commanding General of Army Cadet Command, addressed the cadets.
“Cadets, I have one simple word for you and it has three letters – wow!” Combs said. “Wow, you have done it.”
Combs shared the “three C’s” of being an Army professional with the cadets: character, competence and commitment. She challenged the future officers to continue to reflect on their training and the three C’s as they venture into their final steps before becoming second lieutenants. Cadet Cat McCaw of Chapman University in California recited the Cadet Creed. The creed reflects the mission and importance of a cadet’s duty.
“But above all, I am the future: the future warrior leader of the United States Army,” McCaw recited.
Combs addressed the future leaders by explaining just how special, or rare, they are.
Becoming an officer is by no means an ordinary career. Less than one tenth of one percent of Americans will take the oath to become an Army officer, Combs said.
“Ladies and gentlemen what stands before you is the rare breed of future leaders of America’s Army.”
Ten cadets were specifically recognized for their efforts. Regimental awards were given to cadets for exemplifying courage, integrity and an array of other important values.
With one milestone completed, the cadets were ecstatic but this is nowhere close to the end. Cadet Russell Munroe of the University of Mississippi in Oxford commented, “It’s just another stepping stone.”
Nonetheless, it’s another stepping stone completed. Cadet Ashok Yalla from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa said the best part of LDAC was meeting new people but he’s still happy to be finished.
“You always hear about LDAC your freshman, sophomore and junior year—it feels good to finally do it,” Yalla said.
For the 39 cadets who were commissioned as second lieutenants, the graduation ceremony today was the final stepping-stone to becoming an officer. Second Lieutenant Tianna Miner of Westminster University in Utah was commissioned yesterday.
“I’m an ‘end-of-camp-commissionee’ so this feels great,” Miner said. Miner plans to become a part of the National Guard.
Whether it was the excitement of becoming a second lieutenant, the completion of LDAC or finally being reunited with their families—all of the cadets were ecstatic.
The excitement extended to the cadre members as well. Sgt. First Class Tigris Stewart from the Virginia Military Institute was with the 10th Regiment throughout their training.
“It’s a huge accomplishment, not only for them.” Stewart said. “You feel like a parent when you see your kids graduate and move on, we’re excited for them.”
Through their LDAC training, Combs hopes the cadets have learned the Army’s ‘secret’. “You have learned what makes the Army the best Army in the world—teamwork,” Combs said.
The past 29 days have been a whirlwind of developing their own leadership skills while also developing friendships and knowledge that will surely assist the cadets in the years to come.
To put it simply, in the words of Sgt. First Class Stewart, “It feels good.”