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.”

After passing the course, Wilson couldn’t keep up with the rest of his platoon and lagged behind as the adrenaline pumping through his veins began to fade. Cadre noticed Wilson hobbling back to the barracks and called in a medic. After determining the pain stemmed from an incomplete fracture in his leg bone, the medic informed Wilson he would be sent home. At first devastated, Wilson then decided he was going to recover and return the following year. He will graduate on July 13, 2012 from LDAC.

A desire to help others led Wilson to join ROTC, he said. Wilson’s dream college, Whitworth University, did not have a ROTC program so he searched for a host school. Wilson received a call from a military science professor interested in having him join the host program at Gonzaga University.

“I’ve loved being in ROTC ever since,” Wilson said. “I’ve had great leaders and officers who have helped me develop by showing me what it means to be a servant leader.”

With the support of the ROTC program at his host university, Wilson returned this year and joined the graduating Cadets of 3rd Regiment. Now armed with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Whitworth University, Wilson looks forward to commissioning as an officer.

The past year has been full of lessons and tests to pass, according to the aspiring leader. Commissioned officers and formerly deployed soldiers at the leadership camp challenged and enlightened him on a daily basis, Wilson said.

Wilson’s experience at LDAC also gave him an outlook he plans to pass on to the soldiers he will soon lead

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned here at LDAC is just to be who you want to be,” he said. “If you want to be a good person, just be a good person. It’s important to respect people. We all have a priceless value and it’s important to see that, especially when you’re leading them.”

The future of the Cadet who never gave up on his dream of becoming a servant leader said he owes it all to the wonderful teachers he’s had throughout his life. From the classroom to the barracks, Wilson is excited to see where his military career takes him.

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