By: Katie McGuire
The cadets of Cadet Initial Entry Training Regiment 5 and Cadet Leadership Course Regiment 6 had the opportunity to listen to guest speaker, Brigadier General Mitchell Kilgo on Tuesday night.
The General came to Fort Knox to speak to the future army officers on the expectations of a Soldier in the United States Army, where he focused on both the skills it takes to complete work tasks and the personality and morale one must have to continue to be a leader.
One of his first points was to lead with character. He told the cadets a story about how being in the R.O.T.C. program at Virginia Union University changed who he was as a person and shaped him to be the man he always wanted to be. He also told the cadets that it takes a certain person to be in the Army because they have to deal with a lot of pressure and decisions, and a good leader knows how to see all the possible outcomes and know how to handle each situation.
Cadet William Kiesow of the University of California Davis took this message on character as a learning tool in his CST training this summer. “Character is important, not who you are but who you affect. Being who I am and how I lead and being true to my values,” he believes are the most important pieces of a leader in the Army.
He also encouraged the cadets to always have a leadership mindset in anything that they do. “Listen, then think and speak, then lead,” Kilgo advised the cadets. He believed one of the most important things a leader can do is stop and think first before acting on something, then figure out a way to be clear to his/her soldiers on how to handle a situation, and execute it.
One of the many other points he made was: know your crowd, keep it simple, and have good communication. General Kilgo said these are what separates a good leader from a bad one. Although all future army officers will graduate with at least a four year degree, it’s the people skills and the communication skills that will play a big part in their future Army careers.
General Kilgo concluded his speech with his favorite quote by Aristotle that has stuck with him throughout his entire Army career. “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
General Kilgo ended the presentation with a Question and Answer opportunity for the cadets to ask questions about his personal and professional life and how it shaped him to be a General in the United States Army. Cadets were eager to listen of his experience overseas in war and his efforts in being an Executive Officer in the US Africa Command, and all other experiences that got him where he is today. General Kilgo was more than happy to advise these cadets as they head into their futures as future army officers in the United States Army.