Washington - Part 3

By Brenda S. Brown

More than a hundred deans, professors, coaches and staff members from colleges and universities around the country spent three days in July at what is described as the Leader Development and Assessment Course, U.S. Army Cadet Command's capstone training and assessment exercise.  Mentors from around the country were given the opportunity to better understand what it takes to train Army soldiers. The following is a continuation of our journey to Washington State with personal observations along the way. 

Tuesday morning dawned cool and drafty as we attended a parade for LDAC graduation and a commissioning ceremony during the early morning hours; we host numerous parades each year on the campus of Georgia Military College, and several commissioning ceremonies, but many of our fellow travelers were unfamiliar with the traditions included in a military parade. 

The pomp and circumstance of the ceremony was a fitting ending of the training phase for many cadets in attendance; for those are not familiar with the programs of the United States Army I want to share this amazing statistic, 6,609 Army Cadets reported to LDAC 2011, so far, the graduation rate is about 96 percent.

The scenarios we observed in certain field locations were educational and enjoyable; almost as entertaining as the preparation and consumption of our second meals ready to eat.  Imagine a package that is capable, with the addition of a few drops of water, of heating an entrée, and then transforming into a pouch to serve the meal.  We then proceeded to an event that most of the attendees viewed as the most exciting element of the tour, the water confidence course or as we remember it, the Slide for Life. 

The air-temperature had cooled considerably by arrival time, but numerous members of our group braved the chill and pronounced they had a breathtaking moment sliding from the soaring structure tower into the frigid water below.  All around the river area were cadets who were rowing boats and jumping from other structures into the water, but they paused to observe the elder adventurers and cheered with us as they voluntarily participated in the event. 

Too soon it was time to load up the buses and return to our hotel for the closing segment event; presented as a buffet meal called "Northwest Bounty" with tables laden with such entrees as Grilled King Salmon Filets, Mustard crusted pork loin and sliced Roast Sirloin of beef.   

Our first encounter with MG McDonald was as the speaker at the morning parade; the second occasion was as the personable keynote speaker at the evening banquet.  After experiencing first hand, the training that cadets receive at Warrior Forge, it was an honor to listen to and be introduced personally to Major General James M. McDonald, the Commanding General of U.S. Army Cadet Command.   

In the closing segment I will share further thoughts about our experience but I can report that everyone in attendance gained significant respect for the United States Army training program; their traditions and training are truly incredible.

She can be reached at www.brendasbrown.com

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