By Crystal Allen
Leader’s Training Course
Before Amanda Lackey decides if she wants to join the Army, she will go through 29 days of intense physical challenges and lessons in military concepts.
Lackey, a junior at East Tennessee State University, is one of 173 Charlie Company Cadets from around the country who arrived Monday to participate in the Leader’s Training Course, a program designed to catch up students who hadn’t decided until after their sophomore year that they might want to join ROTC.
Lackey said LTC will help solidify her decision of joining ROTC. She is “98 percent” sure she wants to be in the Army, but there is still a possibility the training over the next month could change her mind.
“I think it’ll be a really good learning experience, and it will be challenging but I’m pretty excited overall,” she said. “I think it’s going to be really good to help prepare me for other things in the future, too.”
The majority of the Charlie Cadets will soon be juniors in college with little ROTC experience. LTC is designed to physically train the Cadets and build their military knowledge in the classroom.
The Cadets will go through a series of courses such as water survival training, stream crossing and shooting range practice. The activities teach Cadets navigation, how to evaluate a leader and more. However, the primary goal is to build the Cadets’ leadership skills.
While at LTC, each Cadet will be put into several different leadership positions: team, squad and platoon leader, platoon sergeant, company commander and company first sergeant.
“I think it’s a very good program for the Cadets or the prospective Cadets who did not know about ROTC or the opportunities with ROTC before their junior year,” said 2nd Lt. Hunter Tom, a LTC squad tactical officer. “This is two years of experience in four weeks.”
Upon arrival Monday at the Louisville International Airport, Cadets were welcomed by four lieutenants. They were then bussed to Fort Knox for in-processing, where they were checked into their barracks. Lastly, the Cadets were divided into four platoons.
Cadets that complete LTC will graduate from the program and, if they choose, will enroll in ROTC, spending next summer at the Leader Development and Assessment Course. LDAC is the last step a Cadet goes through before preparing to commission.
One Cadet, Kevin Hendges, a junior at Western Michigan University, hopes to gain leadership attributes, make new friends, be introduced to new ideas about the military and grow out of his comfort zone while at LTC.
“It’ll give me a better understanding of what to expect later on,” he said.
Hendges is already enrolled in his school’s Air Force ROTC program, but he is going to participate in both the Army and Air Force field trainings this summer and weigh his options as to which branch he wants commit. He leaves for an Air Force course shortly after his LTC graduation.
Cadet Sean Burns, a junior at Siena College, has been enrolled in the Army ROTC program for a semester. He gets a thrill from doing obstacles similar to what he will see at LTC.
“I’m expecting it to be pretty fun,” Burns said. “I just want to do the best that I can, learn a lot and come out with a lot more knowledge.”