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.

“We’ve been learning a lot about what Cadets do here and the Army culture in general,” said Natalie Bullock Brown from Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C. “It will help me personally have a more informed opinion about the Army in general.”

Bullock Brown said this visit will be helpful the next time a student shows interest in ROTC. Now, with a glimpse into the training regimen, she said she sees how many different options ROTC students have besides infantry or active duty.

Many visitors push themselves to complete every activity offered to them. This includes Lynn Doyle, a professor from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. who came to the Community Leader and Educator Visit on behalf of the nursing program. Due to the many wounded warriors and veterans who use the medical facilities, Doyle said this is a great way to understand the military life her patients know so well.

Also amongst the visitors is Stephen Rodabaugh, the associate dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for Youngstown State University. A growing push for the recruitment of officers with STEM backgrounds is what prompted many of his coworkers to see what Army officer training is like.

“I’m impressed with the caliber of people on both sides, meaning Cadets and those training them,” he said. “I think this whole operation is very impressive, especially because of the difficulty.”

The Community Leader and Educator Visit also allows those who have no military connections, such as family or friends who have served, the chance to interact with Army leaders. Assistant provost for Winston-Salem State University, Leticia Cornish said she had no idea what the military is like.

“Now I will be able to go back to my school with an appreciation for what people do here,” Cornish said. “This is not just something these Cadets do, this is a lifestyle.”

For two days educators from around the country experience life as a Cadet in order to gain a better understanding of where some of their students are heading– toward a career in the Army.

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