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

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

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.
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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

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

“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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Collaboration key in Cadets’ strategy

Cadets overcome obstacles at the Field Leaders Reaction Course on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. U.S. Army Photo by Al Zdarsky

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

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Many challenges at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) require Cadets to overcome fears or to see how far they can push themselves. At the Field Leader’s Reaction Course (FLRC) the most important factor to success is strategy.

Lt. Col. Gustavo Perez, chief of FLRC, will see thousands of Cadets come through his course. He knows, however, that it is not important for Cadets to overcome every obstacle, but to develop leadership skills and demonstrate those skills during the training.

“Being successful is not the object; it is being able to lead [the squad] and being able to adjust,” he said. “Don’t freeze, don’t get ‘killed’ and don’t get the squad ‘killed.’”

At FLRC Cadets go through several different lanes where their squad must overcome obstacles such as bridges, walls and mud pits within an allotted amount of time.

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Army Physical Fitness Test evaluates Cadets’ ability as officers

Second Regiment Cadets perform push-ups during APFT. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals.

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

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – They’ve prepared for this their entire ROTC career, from visiting the gym on their own to running with their college cadre back home; these Cadets are prepared and fit for the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).

At LDAC Cadets must complete the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). It is through this test that the LDAC cadre decide who is ready and able to continue the course and complete events such as the confidence and obstacle courses. Should a Cadet fail the APFT, there is a possibility that they could be sent home.

“An individual’s physical fitness is directly related to an individual’s combat readiness,” said Col. Dean Shultis, Warrior Forge Commandant of Cadets. “In the Army, what we do is prepare for combat as part of our mission.” Read more of this post

Cadets become part of U.S. Army history

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

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — Ceremony based on shared history is important in connecting officers and Soldiers of the U.S. Army to their common past.

Fourth Regiment uncases their colors after being activated as “Sykes’ Regulars,” their combat unit affiliation. U.S. Army photo by Al Zdarsky

Through the regimental activation ceremonies at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), Cadets representing ROTC programs from all over the country become united by affiliation with 14 of the Army’s finest combat units.

“Everything we do is based on military tradition and military history,” said Lt. Col. Kevin McKay, chief of protocol for Warrior Forge. “It is all based on years of drill and ceremony. We go by military regulation at this point, but those regulations have developed since the Continental Army back in 1775.”

Cadets of 4th Regiment conducted a regimental activation ceremony June 18 to become affiliated with the U.S. Army’s 20th Infantry Regiment, also known as Sykes’ Regulars. The affiliation allows Cadets to see that they are a part of something so much bigger than a 450-person training regiment. Instead, they are training in honor of an over 150-year-old infantry unit.
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