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.

This specific historical regiment saw action at battles such as Manassas, Fredricksburg and Gettysburg. The unit was officially dubbed the 20th Infantry Regiment in 1866 and saw service during the Indian Wars, World War II and the Tet Counteroffensive during the Vietnam War.

Along with an honorable affiliation to a combat unit in history, the regiments take on the traditional motto of their particular unit. For these Sykes’ Regulars, their motto while at LDAC is “Tant Que Je Puis,” translated “To the limit of our ability.”

The ceremony at LDAC is conducted between three and four days after the entire regiment arrives. Fourth Regiment had the pleasure of welcoming Maj. Gen. Jefforey Smith, Cadet Command’s Commanding General, to oversee the activation.

During the ceremony the guidon of the regiment stands between the two companies of the regiment for the uncasing of the colors, an important tradition in the Army. The ceremony lasts no longer than 15 minutes and takes place in the Cadets’ regiment area, but the regimental affiliation will last until the completion of the course.

“At the end of their 29 days of training they will recall the colors,” McKay said, “because they are complete with their ‘deployment.’”

The majority of the event consists of a reading of the history of the combat unit to which the Cadets are becoming activated as well as offer a few words of encouragement as the regiment begins their journey at LDAC.

“Some would say good luck, but you don’t need it,” Lt. Col. Mark Thomson said at 4th Regiment’s activation. “Be confident in your training and in your teammates. Give this team your best and together you will excel.”

In the Army and out, history will always be an important foundation for the future, but with these Cadets being a part of history there is no doubt that their futures will have promise.

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