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The Leader’s Training Course, or LTC, also known as Operation BOLD CHALLENGE, is held each summer at Fort Knox, Ky. The course exists to motivate and qualify college students to enter the Senior Army ROTC program on their campus.

The Leader Development and Assessment Course, known as Operation WARRIOR FORGE, is U.S. Army Cadet Command’s flagship training and assessment event that every Army Cadet must successfully complete before he or she can be commissioned as an Army officer.

Warrior Forge Overview

Warrior Forge 2012 has come to an end. In this video Cadets and cadre share advice in order to aid future Cadets in excelling while at the Leader Development and Assessment Course. Congratulations for those who graduated and good luck!

LDAC 2012 Public Affairs Office

WF2012 Hooah Video

Compilation video of all that Cadets endure while completing the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

The legend of the LDAC ants

Justin Trujillo a member of the 2011 Public Affaris office stands next to one of the legendary Ant hills at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. This ant hill topped out just under Five feet tall and Six feet wide. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

By: Hannah Van Ree
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

The forest floor of Joint Base Lewis-McChord is alive, alive with ants. Cadets see for themselves the true power of nature as they maneuver around the mini highways of moving sticks and pine needles during their base-wide training. The Squad Situational Training exercises (SSTX) and patrol (PSTX) lanes are where Cadets get an up-close encounter with the six-legged legends of the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).

If Cadets hadn’t been briefed on the enormous ant hills prevalent in the tactics training area, they might have been concerned.

All Cadets are briefed before they conduct a mission about the possible environmental hazards, and the ants are one of them, said Maj. John Brauneis, the tactics safety Officer. Read more of this post

Cadet joins to honor Soldier’s legacy

By: Hannah Van Ree
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

Choosing to join the U.S. Army is a big decision. Some Cadets know from a young age that they want to join the military, while others decide in college. For Cadet Paul Klotz a somber day two years ago defined his future and caused him to make the commitment.

“I don’t know, it’s just that funny feeling you get where you want to do something that matters for yourself and for others, and the motivating factor for me to actually join was him,” said Klotz, from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

Cadet Paul Klotz from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point chose to join the Army in memory of his late mentor, Green Beret Sgt. Todd Pruett. Klotz graduates from LDAC on Friday, August 3rd at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals.

The “him” Klotz refers to is the late Green Beret Sgt. Todd Pruett.

Pruett had served in the U.S. Army Special Forces for many years until his honorable discharge. He then rejoined his family floor covering business and coached sports in his West Bend, Wis. community.

“Todd was my friend and mentor. I grew up with his kids and he was my coach growing up,” said Klotz.

Pruett passed away after a courageous battle with acute leukemia. The community had embraced the Soldier, holding bone marrow drives and wearing shirts with the slogan “Do it for Pruett” throughout town.

One of the drives was held at Klotz’s parent’s grocery store, ‘Klotz Piggly Wiggly’ in their hometown.

The retired Soldier passed away on July 4, 2010, a day that changed Klotz’s life.

Klotz, still in college, decided to join the Army ROTC program and become an Officer.

Klotz’s plan is to complete the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) and graduate college next year with his social science degree, after which he will join the infantry.

He said that his parents understood this was something that he had to do. Read more of this post

Cadets explore Army-life after LDAC

By Noelle Wiehe
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Following the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) a world of opportunities within the Army opens up to Cadets.

At Branch Orientation, Cadets visit large Army tents set up in the middle of the regimental areas, rotating every 45 minutes at the sound of an air horn to explore four of their top branch choices. They listen to speakers, watch videos and read about what may lie ahead of them in the next few months should they be chosen for active duty.

Cadets of 5th and 6th Regiments learn about the Transportation Corps at Branch Orientation as part of their experience at the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

While many Cadets may not be assigned to their first few choices, it is still important that they learn about multiple branches.

“Not any one is guaranteed,” said Master Sgt. Michael Rosenberger of 12th Regiment. “It’s all about information and how they can set themselves up for success.”

Inside the tents are experienced Soldiers and cadre who are tasked as branch representatives to educate Cadets about specifics of the branch assignments. Staff Sgt. Chris Hall of the 57th Sapper Company, Fort Bragg, North Carolina was flown in three times throughout Warrior Forge to talk about his branch and recruit talent for the Corps of Engineers. Read more of this post

Cadets get hands-on experience during Nurse Summer Training Program

First Lt. Jordan List oversees nursing Cadet Megan King putting in an IV for a patient. U.S. Army photo by Alexandra Kocik

By Alexandra Kocik
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – While typical Cadets run, jump and work together through LDAC courses, ROTC nursing students put in IVs, give medication and work late-nights in the ER inside Madigan Army Medical Center on the other side of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Many of these interns already completed LDAC or will do so after their time at the hospital.

The 29-day Army Nurse Summer Training Program was once a mandatory activity for all ROTC nursing students, but is now optional and competitively selected. Nursing students apply for their top three choices of Army hospitals to work in. The two most requested locations are Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, which accepts the top 10 applicants, and the Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, with room for three interns.

Applicants’ Army Physical Fitness Test scores and grade-point average account for 40 percent of their application score during the review process. Only those with the highest scores in these two areas will be given their top choice.

Read more of this post

The fight against fear

A Cadet crosses the Log Walk at the water confidence course as the rest of their regiment watches. U.S. Army photo by Al Zdarsky

By Alexandra Kocik
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Thirty-five feet above the dark lake, a Cadet balances precariously on a 6-inch-wide beam by holding her arms out from her sides. As she steps gingerly down from a small block set in the center of the beam, she stumbles forward, falling to one knee. Her comrades below gasp as she grabs the ladder on the opposite side of the beam to avoid falling further. The Cadet bows her head and makes the sign of a cross before flashing a smile to the cheering crowd below. Slowly she ascends the ladder to the next challenge.

The water confidence course at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) marks the final test before Cadets graduate. Retired 1st Sgt. Jorge Rivera is a member of the cadre overseeing this site, which has one important goal.

“The purpose of this course is to test Cadets’ personal courage and ability to overcome their fear of water, heights or both,” Rivera said. “Two of the activities here must be passed to graduate from LDAC, so a small percentage finds this site stressful because of their fears.

Read more of this post

Marching as one

Cadets of the 9th Regiment complete their 10k foot march. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

By: Hannah Van Ree
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – The sun plays peek-a-boo over the horizon as Cadets gear up at the regimental assembly area for the culminating event of their tactics training, the 10k foot march.

Prepared and ready to go, anxious Cadets get a head start on their 5:30 start time and step off at 5:20 a.m.

Company Tactical Officer, Lt. Col. Stacy Seaworth, who will lead the company of Cadets from beginning to end, directs Alpha Company off the line first.

Though the march is not a timed event, most regiments finish in under two hours, said Mr. Steven Lopez, the tactics committee operations officer in charge of the march.

As Cadets step off the grass, their well-worn boots crush the gravel, the rocks popping and crackling beneath their feet. Read more of this post

Mental fitness as important as physical fitness at confidence course

By Noelle Wiehe
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Stress is a part of life but in the Army Soldiers are expected to perform to standard in spite of it.

A 12th Regiment Cadet climbs the rope on “The Tough One” as part of the Land Confidence course at Joint Base Lewis McChord. U.S. Army photo by Noelle Wiehe

As Cadets, the most stressful situation they face is the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

By the time Cadets reach the Land Confidence course in their second week, they’ve already completed the Land Navigation test as well as the Army Physical Fitness Test – tell-tale signs that they are prepared enough to complete LDAC. Cadets must shrug off the stress they’ve faced thus far and power through intimidating obstacles to complete the Land Confidence portion of LDAC. Read more of this post

Leading under pressure

By Hannah Van Ree
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Infiltrating the enemy and obtaining intel are just two skills that Cadets master during tactics training at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).

In the days leading up to training, Cadets spend hours learning how to interact with the people of Atropia during their Cultural Awareness training. Atropia is a fictitious country, primarily Spanish speaking, that is meant to resemble culture in the Middle East and Southwest Asian countries.

Seventh Regiment Cadets capture Col. Manuel Dehoya, played by Sgt. Jeff Berger, during patrolling (PTRL) training on Lane 98 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals.

Understanding the kinds of environments they will be introduced to overseas helps Cadets to succeed while operating in those circumstances at LDAC.

The land of Atropia is populated by Atropian civilians as well as the South Atropian People’s Army, SAPA, also known to Cadets as “the bad guys”.

Cadets are taught how to complete their mission and extract the SAPA forces with the least amount of civilian disturbance as possible. This can be hard at times since SAPA forces can lay low and disguise themselves as civilians. Telling friendly civilians apart from enemy forces can at times be almost impossible.
Read more of this post

Breaking down cultural barriers enhances mission-effectiveness

By Noelle Wiehe
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

Cadets of 6th Regiment train at the Cultural Awareness course alongside second lieutenant actors who play the roles of Atropian-natives on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Al Zdarsky

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Practical training in the U.S. Army is crucial. The situations within the training may be extreme, but at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), preparedness is one of the most important aspects of Soldier combat-readiness.

“In today’s world, in order to do our mission, we have to understand and be aware of the cultures that we’re going to be working with,” said Lt. Col. Jon Negin, officer in charge of the Cultural Awareness training. “Culture is all around us as we conduct our operations these days.”

Cadets attending LDAC are subjected to a made-up Atropian culture. This culture is meant to resemble, but not mirror, a culture they are likely to encounter in Middle Eastern and Southwest Asian countries. Through several different stations which make up the Cultural Awareness training site, Cadets build confidence in their ability to communicate with foreigners and in their ability to operate as a squad.
Read more of this post

Civilians receive the Cadet treatment at LDAC

Community educators and leaders work together to complete a task at the Field Leader’s Reaction Course. U.S. Army photo by Al Zdarsky

By Alexandra Kocik
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – At the Field Leader’s Reaction Course (FLRC), Cadets encourage their squads to work together to cross obstacles. Portions of this course are marked off with red tape, which Cadets must avoid by going over and around using barrels, beams and other objects.

On an overcast day in the middle of a wooded area, a bright pink sweatshirt clashes with the green camouflage of a woman’s Kevlar as she helps several other brightly-dressed woman pick up a heavy wooden board. A grey-haired man stops rolling a barrel to rub the dull ache in his knee before he can continue.

Those in T-shirts and jeans are not the Cadets generally being evaluated on this course; they are leaders and educators from around the country who are given a two-day tour of the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), which Cadets must successfully negotiate before becoming Army officers. By gaining a glimpse into what Cadets go through to succeed in the military, these civilians gain a better understanding of what ROTC does to prepare their students for future leadership roles. These leaders and educators are encouraged to attempt any portion of the training – including the Water Confidence Course, First-Aid training and weapons familiarization.
Read more of this post

Cadets practice Cultural Awareness

Warrior Forge Commandant of Cadets, Col. Dean Shultis, talks about the seriousness of cultural awareness at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Safety First

Warrior Forge Commandant of Cadets, Col. Dean Shultis, talks about managing risk and implementing safety during the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Logistics planning vital to Cadet training

By Noelle Wiehe
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

Cadets of 11th Regiment In-Process during the first days of their training while at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – The Army consists of less than 1 percent of the United States’ bravest and most dedicated individuals, without whom the Army would not prevail in combat. The vigorous training of the future Officers of the Army would not be possible if not for the strategic planning and organization which goes in to the logistics within the Army’s Officer training courses.

“Nothing happens without logistics,” said Vicky Vital, property liability clerk within the logistics department at Warrior Forge. “Without us, the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) couldn’t happen.”

Cadets must negotiate confidence courses, training facilities and field training exercises at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a part of LDAC in order to become second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Under the logistics committee at LDAC fall four subdivisions – Food Service, Supply, Services and Transportation. Combined, their mission is to coordinate and execute support for the Cadre and Cadets involved with the training course.

Everything from the smallest to the largest logistical issue is ultimately the responsibility of the chief logistical advisor to the Warrior Forge Commander, Lt. Col. Michelle Holliday. Read more of this post

A Cadet’s farewell song

Cadet Skylar Fairchild “sings” goodbye to the 4th Regiment to the tune of “American Pie” by Don McLean after their graduation ceremony from the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Through the gas mask

By Noelle Wiehe
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Intertwined with building Cadets’ confidence and camaraderie is an emphasis upon combat readiness. At the gas chambers, however, Cadets build confidence by experiencing the consequence of failure in their equipment.

Cadets of 1st Regiment trudge up a hill in full gear as part of the Cobalt Challenge at the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear training facility as part of the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Al Zdarsky

“We have to train all of our Soldiers on defense against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks,” said contractor Joe McCluskey, executive officer for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) training facility. “Hopefully we never have to really use it, but we have to be prepared for it.”

Through this situational training, Cadets are exposed to ortho-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, or CS tear gas. The gas is an irritant which causes a profuse flow of tears, extreme irritation of the skin and upper respiratory irritation. Read more of this post

The Importance of Logistics

Warrior Forge Commandant of Cadets, Col. Dean Shultis, discusses the importance of logistics for mission success.

Cadets use digital training tools at the Mission Training Complex

By Alexandra Kocik
U.S. Cadet Command Public Affairs Office

Third Regiment Cadet Tori Holtestaul from Claremont McKenna College spends time with the First Person Simulation at the Mission Training Complex at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD – After running, climbing and strategizing their way through the many tests of the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), Cadets go to the Mission Training Complex to explore resources found on every Army post.

In an auditorium with stadium seating and a huge projection screen, Cadets watch a training movie. Further down the hall their peers stare at computer screens while negotiating pixilated vehicles through tough terrain. Others sit in large compartments surrounded by television screens to mimic conditions drivers of the Stryker armored vehicles face.

Read more of this post

Eating in action

By Hannah Van Ree
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

Sixth Regiment Cadet Marquise Young from Campbell University enjoys a meal before doing the night Land Navigation Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD – Mama’s home cooking is hard to replace, but the food service staff at Warrior Forge keeps Cadets well fed during their 29-day challenge.

“It’s a big process,” said Master Sgt. Stephen Och, head of food services at the Leader Development and Assessment Course.

“There is a lot of preplanning that a lot of people do before this mission even kicks off because it is such a big event. Alone there are 6,500 Cadets,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Steve Szakal, also in charge of food services throughout Warrior Forge.
Read more of this post

Aspiring leader leaves LDAC for good

By Alexandra Kocik
U.S. Cadet Command Public Affairs

Cadet William Wilson recites the oath of office during the graduation ceremony for 3rd Regiment. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD – With the sun high above their heads, Cadets run around a large track as sweat pours down their focused faces. The Army Physical Fitness Test marks the first graded test of Cadets at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC). After years of conditioning for this course, Cadet William Wilson ran around the track for the APFT in the summer of 2011. The first test was going well for Wilson, until he felt a sharp pain.

“It felt like a shotgun blast going through my leg,” Wilson said. “It got worse and worse with each step but I wanted to finish, so I did.”
Read more of this post

Mission complete

First and 2nd Regiment Cadets march onto the parade field during graduated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

By Hannah Van Ree
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – The 29 days of sweat, stress, camaraderie and leadership during the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) all boils down to one moment, graduation.

LDAC graduates have been assessed on their leadership skills on land and water courses in all conditions and earned the right to continue their goal of becoming an Army Officer. Nearly 7,000 Cadets from 14 Regiments will graduate from LDAC, which is the greatest capstone assessment in an Army Cadet’s life.

While the majority of graduates will return to their respective colleges or universities, others will immediately don the gold bars of a second lieutenant, having completed all their previous requirements.
Read more of this post

14th Regiment’s Top APFT Scores

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Brigham Young University Cadet Eric Lowe scored a 367 on the Army Physical Fitness Test and Cadet Shanterra Scott from the University of Northern Iowa scored a 350, both earning the top scores for 14th Regiment.

Scores and regiment standings:

14th Regiment Cadet pushes through her two-mile run during her Army Physical Fitness Test. U.S. Army photo by Al Zdarsky

Top Overall
367: Eric Lowe, Brigham Young University
350: Shanterra Scott, University of Northern Iowa

Top 2-mile Run
9:55: Michael Kurvach, Rochester Institution of Technology
12:48: Shanterra Scott, University of Northern Iowa

Top Sit-Ups
111: Eric Lowe, Brigham Young University
95: Shannon Gardner, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Top Push-ups
99: Eric Lowe, Brigham Young University
63: Amy Klivans, The Johns Hopkins University

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