Basic Camp

Bravo Cadets enjoy simple pleasures on their day off

Cadet Bryan Cunningham enjoys lunch in his civilian clothes with other Bravo Company Cadets on their day off Friday. Photo by Rebecca Thompson.

Cadet Bryan Cunningham enjoys lunch in his civilian clothes with other Bravo Company Cadets on their day off Friday. Photo by Rebecca Thompson.

By Matthew Langston
Leader’s Training Course

On their first day off Friday, Cadets of Bravo Company hung around the barracks in groups as usual. However, there was no marching, no wearing of uniforms, stern looks or yelling from drill sergeants.

There wasn’t even a drill sergeant to be found.

Cadets were free to flock to locations such as the bowling alley, the movie theater and the post exchange, where they could buy goods such as candy bars, which Cadet Kierra Olschewski said were popular during the day off.

“I’ve seen about 90 Cadets sitting and eating a Snickers,” said Olschewski, a student at the University of Utah.

After training until 3 a.m. the morning of Bravo’s day off, she said her priority was to take a nap and catch up on her laundry since she missed laundry pickup earlier that day.

For some Cadets, relaxation topped their to-do lists. Stephan Pavlick, a student at Butler University, attending ROTC at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said the goal of his day was to catch up on correspondence with family and friends.

“My biggest plan, honestly, is to try and write to all the people I promised I’d write to,” he said. “I thought I’d have more time to write but when you get your personal time, it’s like, ‘All right, let’s get ready for the next day.’ ”

Pavlick said that with as much intense training Bravo Company has done since arriving at LTC, it’s important to have time to recuperate, relax and get out of the mindset of being constantly focused.

Time off is not only a break for the brain, but also for the body. Bryan Cunningham, a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said the time off would help him ready for the upcoming land navigation test.

“This is new to a lot of people, and it’s a little bit stressful,” he said. “Everybody needs time off, and our feet alone need the healing time for tomorrow.”

Natalie VanDenack, a student at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., planned to spend time with her fellow Cadets, getting to know them better and venturing out to get some caffeine.

“We’re planning to go to a coffee shop and get some coffee,” she said. “We’re not allowed coffee here.”

As many of the Cadets had not gone through training like LTC, VanDenack said it can be emotionally taxing with the demands and drill sergeants they encounter. She said the day off reminds them of their civilian life outside the course.

“I think it’s important for us to make sure that we still know there is a normal life, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

The Cadets of Bravo Company weren’t the only ones with the day off. Olschewski said she received specific instructions from those normally directing her.

“My drill sergeants personally told me if I see them, do not speak to them, do not look at them and pretend like I don’t know them,” she said. “It’s their day off, too.”

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