By Crystal Allen
Leader’s Training Course
Cadets left their barracks, seeing their families outside waiting for them. For many, it was the first time they had seen each other in 28 days.
The Cadets ran toward their loved ones, giving them much-anticipated hugs. Amid the excitement, they told each other they loved one another, how much they missed each other. And from the loved one’s standpoint, they spoke of how much their Cadet had changed.
After 28 days at the Leader’s Training Course, each company has family day. Many loved ones come to Fort Knox from across the country for the event, which is held the day before graduation.
After having minimal contact through emails and phone calls, families are excited to see the impact of LTC on their Cadets.
Parents receive a brief on the course and Army ROTC in general and are given a tour of the post, including some of the sites where Cadets trained during the past month. Families were proud to see what their Cadet had accomplished and the career path they were taking.
“I was very surprised; I really didn’t think Army was her thing,” said Patty Woods, mother of Bravo Company Cadet Kelly Woods. “All of a sudden she got really interested in it. She said, ‘I’m going to join ROTC,’ and I said, ‘Great.’ ”
Patty has many family members in the military but had never spent this amount of time away from her daughter. She said it felt weird having an empty house, but she assumes the experience made her daughter grow and become more independent.
Like Woods, Bravo Cadet Kyle Roughton of University of Arizona, had never spent this much time away from his family. He said he missed the Sunday evening dinners they had around the table.
But overall, it wasn’t too difficult to adjust.
“I think we were busy enough that I didn’t really notice it, but I’m excited now that we’re going to be able to see them again,” he said.
Laney Mcdougal, wife of Bravo Cadet Devin Mcdougal, tried doing the same. She and her husband have been married for six years, and she’s never spent this much time away from him.
She tried keeping busy to overshadow her sadness of him being gone. She signed up for more projects and constantly surrounded herself with her family, friends and church members.
However, it didn’t work well.
“I realized I can exhaust myself with stuff and business, but I’m still going to miss him,” she said.
Unlike most Cadets, Bravo’s Devin Nanik of Saint John’s University of Minnesota, was used to not seeing his family for long periods of time. He goes to school states away from where his family lives in California.
He hasn’t been home since Christmas, and the last time he saw his mom was Easter when she was able to visit him at his school.
“I had already been away from them for a while, so I knew how it felt to go a long time without seeing any family,” he said.
Nanik during Bravo’s family day earlier this week, he was excited to show his mom around and have her sit in the audience when he graduated LTC.
“I think they’re proud,” Nanik said. “It’s just another step to my next career path or goal.”
Although the families and Cadets missed one another, their mindset was focused on the same goal: having the Cadets graduate and move closer to becoming a commissioned leader in the Army, no matter what it took.
“I think that it was hard for him to decide what he wanted to do in life, and this has provided a good opportunity for him,” Laney Mcdougal said. “I think he really enjoys what he’s doing, so I’m happy for him and proud of him for all he’s accomplishing and will accomplish through ROTC.”