By Alex Mclaughlin
Photo By: Erica Lafser
FORT KNOX, Kentucky–
Leader Development and Assessment Course Seventh and Eighth Regt. held their graduation ceremony Monday to honor the cadets who successfully completed 29 days of challenging training at Fort Knox.
The rigorous and intensive training program tested the cadets’ potential to succeed as an Army officer. The cadets will now head back to their universities with new knowledge to improve their own programs and will become lieutenants after this final year in college.
The graduation ceremony was complimented by martial music from the 113th Army Band Dragooons and an imaginative speech from Brigadier Gen. Peggy C. Combs of U.S. Army Cadet Command.
Combs addressed the cadets, their cadre and their families, and spoke about how important their actions at Fort Knox this summer are to the Army.
“You have achieved much,” Combs said. “You have set on the path to become a professional in the Army. You’ve been tested as a leader and you have learned the secret ingredient that makes this Army work. That ingredient is teamwork.”
Combs said that the Army values are the key to success as an officer, but the hard work done by the cadre and training staff at Fort Knox can not be overlooked.
“You have learned these values and you can be proud of your achievements,” Combs said. “You can be proud, but you wouldn’t have done that without a wonderful team of Cadre and brand new Second Lieutenants.”
Despite the cadets’ accomplishments at LDAC, Combs said the graduation ceremony was only the beginning.
“There is no rest ahead.” Combs said. “You complete your journey into our profession when you return to campus. Remember character, competence and commitment. Those are the bedrock of our profession. There is no greater responsibility to take the oath of office and tell the Aemerican people that you are ready, willing and ably trained to care for their sons and daughters. When you reflect on LDAC, think about that responsibility.”
Combs said LDAC graduates are a rare breed of people. Only one tenth of one percent of Americans take the oath to become an officer.
Justin Ahn, LDAC graduate from New York University in N.Y., said Combs’ words were exactly what he wanted to hear.
“This just feels fantastic,” Ahn said. “Getting through the tough training and being able to hear pass and review was great. Now I have Cadet Troop Leader Training to look forward to.”
Ahn said he gained a lot from LDAC training and had advice for those who will attend in the future.
“You get the opportunity to exercise what you learn on campus and build on those skills,” Ahn said. “If you come in with a closed mind and don’t embrace the experience then you will miss out on all the things LDAC has to offer. If you come in with an open mind and ready to learn, you will succeed.”