1st and 2nd Regiments report for LDAC

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

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Second Lt. Starlet Baker prides herself in being the first face to welcome Cadets of the 1st Regiment to the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) this year at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The few Cadets that trickled in from the 1st and 2nd Regiments around 9:30 a.m., June 11, and the first buses that arrived, signaled the beginning of Warrior Forge 2012.

Cadet Jessica Dodd, a junior from the University of Arizona, signs in to the Leader Development and Assessment Course after arriving to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. U.S. Army photo by Jesse Beals

Traveling from all over the country and some from all over the globe, U.S. Army Cadets from all different backgrounds come together at LDAC every summer to complete a crucial assessment they need before becoming second lieutenants. Cadets are flown into Sea-Tac International Airport and then bused to the base, their new home for the next month.

Cadets had a chance to bond during the flights and bus ride from the airport to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Cadet Ashlie LaFalce of 1st Regiment from State University of N.Y. College, Brockport, said that it felt like team building was already taking place.

“Our connecting flight was really cool because we saw that the whole flight had turned into LDAC,” said LaFalce.

Cadets are issued a lunch on the bus that some eat right away, while others save it for later since they are told that the next time they will eat will be at 7 o’clock that night.

Baker’s duty once the Cadets arrived was to get them off the bus and give them instruction on the first steps of in-processing and advice on how to successfully complete the 29-day assessment.

If Cadets listen closely they could catch some of the cadre talking about their own first day of Warrior Forge, such as Baker who was in their same shoes just last year.

“My three pieces of advice to any Cadet is to support each other, you are only as strong as your weakest link, you are only as strong as your squad and you are only as strong as your platoon,” said Baker.

Second of all, if you are a leader take on the leadership role; if you are in a follower role don’t try to take control because it’s not fair to the leader, said Baker.

Baker’s last piece of advice was for Cadets to “wear the uniform proudly, and maintain professionalism at all times.”

After the 1st and 2nd Regiments were ushered off the bus they were briefed on the history of the regiment they were about to become a part of, 1st Regiment Cadets joining “Striker” and 2nd Regiment Cadets joining the “Dragoons” family. Cadets then got in line according to alphabetical order with their ID cards and tags to officially check into Warrior Forge.

Cadets must fill out Cadet Regimental Cards upon arrival to LDAC which gives their basic information as well as fill out sheets that note if they have had prior cold or heat injuries, if they are a weak swimmer, have allergies, such as bee stings, or use prescription drugs.

The cadre mark a letter and number on each Cadet’s hand, identifying what company and what platoon the Cadet now belongs to. Cadets then get an in-processing checklist that points them to where they must go.

Cadets must complete check-in, help unload personal bags from trucks, collect their bags, complete weight and height checks and do a “shake down”. Shake down consists of Cadets emptying their bags and showing cadre that they have the proper equipment and nothing extra that they are not suppose to have during LDAC.

If Cadets brought anything that they shouldn’t have to LDAC it was confiscated and put into a locker for the Cadets to receive once again three days before they graduated.

After paperwork and processing Cadets must wait with their bags behind their platoons sign until a number from their platoon arrive and they can move as a group to do the shake down and check into their barracks.

Cadet Wei Burkes of 2nd Regiment from the University of Hawaii, Manoa came to LDAC in style, sporting bright pink duck tape with her last name on the sides of her issued bags, making hers easy to point out from the rest.

Burkes, who plans on going into the nursing field, said that she was excited to meet her platoon and finish LDAC to move on to her Army career.

While some Cadets seemed overwhelmed and anxious on in-processing day, others took the chance to crack jokes as they waited to move to their next station.

Cadet John Rhoten of 2nd Regiment from the University of Oklahoma said he enjoyed the bus ride from Sea-Tac, “I ate my Jimmy Deans and enjoyed the scenery,” said Rhoten.

“And the weather is way better than in Texas!” piped in Cadet Andrew Nguyen from Texas A&M University.

Though some Cadets stood by their bags in awe of what they have signed up for this summer, they all were excited to work towards earning the gold bar that comes with the status of second lieutenant.

“I’ve been nervous about this for three years, so I’m done being nervous and ready to do this,” said Cadet Daniel Yarian of 1st Regiment, Wheaton College in Illinois.

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