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!

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

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.

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

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.
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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

Keeping Cadets healthy at LDAC

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

Every Cadet’s blood is drawn for their permanent record, which will follow them throughout their military career. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Robert Paley

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The low hum of voices and rustle of paper rise and fall with the waves of Cadets filing in for medical processing. Nurses give directions to new arrivals while a doctor looks over a Cadet who may be allergic to bees. A Cadet avoids looking at the needle as a nurse fills the syringe with blood. At the back of the building, several staff members organize more than 7,000 records of Cadets who will participate in the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).

Each month, the medical staff processes more than 3,000 Cadets at LDAC. The initial medical examination marks the beginning of a process involving a team of doctors, nurses and medics in charge of keeping Cadets healthy at LDAC.

“We follow Cadets from the time they arrive to the time they go,” said Amanda McNulty, a family practitioner who works as the deputy Officer-In-Charge for Warrior Forge medical. “Our job is to patch them up and get them back out to train.”
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“War Eagle” chant in her heart drives military career

Cadet Patricia Ramirez works hard at the Land Navigation course, confident she will complete all of LDAC successfully. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

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

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – For Cadet Patricia Ramirez, the plan was always to have the Army play a role in her life.

“I’m either going to marry a military man or be in it,” she said.

When she concluded it wasn’t going to happen the same way it did for her mom – by marriage – she took matters into her own hands. Ramirez’s social life has been at the mercy of the military ever since. Her mom met her step-dad inside the Post Exchange at Riyadh Air Base in Saudi Arabia, where she was working as a civilian.
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A Cadet’s home away from home

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

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash.- Living in close quarters and sharing basic essentials with a large group of people at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) is nothing new to Cadet Parker Thompson, who is one of 18 children.

Thompson is the 9th child and the youngest of his parent’s four biological children. He has 14 adopted brothers and sisters, four being from America and 10 from Brazil.

Cadet Parker Thompson of Wheaton College is a long way from home, but finds the Army family to be similar to his life back home. He graduates from the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash on Monday, July 9th. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

“Have you ever seen the movie Cheaper by the Dozen? It’s not at all like that,” joked Thompson, explaining that his siblings were rather well behaved, “It’s not easy but there is a lot of joy that comes with it too.”

Thompson has lived in the same old farmhouse his whole life, in the 2,000-person town of Tremont, Ill.

“We have a garden and the kids play outside a lot. I grew up having a playmate at all times. I was never bored,” said Thompson, who plans on graduating from Wheaton College next fall, commissioning and then going to medical school.

Being two days and a wake-up away from graduating from Warrior Forge, Thompson said he has greatly valued his time at LDAC.

“I can’t believe how fast it’s flown by. It seems like just yesterday we were here getting our blood drawn for the first time and now we are here getting it drawn again,” said Thompson, during his last blood drawing.

“LDAC has taught me a lot about trust. Trust in your fellow Cadets, trust in God, trust in cadre, trust in your training and trust in your own intuition and your guts,” said Thompson. Read more of this post

Beating LDAC

Cadet Christopher Nash learned he could beat box in high school and hasn’t stopped since. He is days from graduating from the Leader Development and Assessment Course 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.- Cadets at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) already have a steady battle rhythm to follow throughout their 29-day challenge, but Cadet Christopher Nash follows a rhythm of his own.

Nash, a 27-year-old active duty soldier from the University of Massachusetts, said that he found out he could make unique sounds in high school and that was just the beginning of his beat boxing career.

“In high school I had some buddies into music and found out I could make a ‘dwoom-dwoom-dwoom’ noise,” said Nash, giving a preview of his fast-paced, rave type echo.

Beat boxing is a musical art form using a person’s mouth, lips, tongue and voice to create instrumental rhythm and beats. Nash has perfected the art and can produce a beat simulating background music instantly.

Nash said he then joined a cappella groups in high school and was the beat boxer in a male a cappella group at his first college. Later, he became a member of the group D.C. Vocals in Virginia, playing shows at venues around the area.
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Land Navigation Course

Warrior Forge Commandant of Cadets, Col. Dean Shultis, outlines components of the Land Navigation course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

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