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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.”
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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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Familiar faces, higher rank: a year after LDAC, former Cadets return as lieutenants

Second Lt. Tela O’Rurke communicates with evaluators during the Field Leader’s Reaction Course. U.S. Army photo by Alexandra Kocik

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

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – With their eyes on the goal of commissioning in the Army, Cadets complete nine tests involving rappelling down heights, navigating new territory, trusting their equipment and pushing their bodies to the limit.

After passing the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), select Cadets return to the course as lieutenants. This return trip back allows these former Cadets to gain experience in the field by working with officers.

“We augment the staff we have here with 2nd lieutenants who are products of the system already,” Lt. Col. Derek Reeve, chief of training said. “We don’t have to spend a lot of time with them to teach them how to evaluate or act around Cadets, because they already know.”
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TAC staff train to standardize evaluations of Cadets

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

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — “An Army leader is anyone who by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals,” according to Field Manual 6-22 (FM 6-22), a guide to Army leadership.

The Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) measures Cadets’ potential to be leaders in the military. The leadership development staff holds mandatory classes to ensure cadre use standardized leadership and evaluation methods to assess Cadets’ progress through LDAC. They hold Tactical Officer (TAC) staff school to calibrate cadre members responsible for evaluating platoons. Each platoon has a TAC, a lieutenant and a noncommissioned officer who are in charge of assessing their Cadets. Qualified assessors are also assigned to the various training committees to evaluate Cadets. Read more of this post

Leaders assess risks before testing Operation Warrior Forge Cadets

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

Master Sgt. Frank Boaz conducts a secondary equipment check before Cadet Carlos Diaz from the University of Texas at El Paso rappels down the 30-foot wall during Operation Warrior Forge. U.S. Army photo by Alexandra Kocik

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — Masks, ropes, helmets and maps are just a few of the tools cadets will use during Operation Warrior Forge. Although not all of these items are dangerous, the exercises they are used in must be carefully planned to avoid broken bones and equipment. Leaders with U.S. Army Cadet Command spend countless hours developing ways to avoid accidents during the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) with a motto of “Safety first, safety always.”

There are safety standards for everything from driving a 15-passenger van to running the land navigation course. Cadet Command uses a process called Composite Risk Management (CRM) to assess the dangers of any action taken on base. Risk assessment matrices measure the probability and severity of hazards and develop ways to control the situation for maximum safety. High-risk activities must be reworked to meet minimal risk requirements.
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