By Sydney Callis
Leader’s Training Course
Like John McLane in “Die Hard,” Delta Company Cadets arrived Friday prepared to face and conquer any challenges put before them during their 29 days at the Leader’s Training Course. The company’s motto, “Yippee Ki-Yay, Delta,” reverberated through the bus transporting Cadets to Fort Knox Friday as they waited to exit and meet their drill sergeants.
For some Cadets, after months of training and preparation, they’re ready to begin and tackle all the course has to offer.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how I can compare and compete,” said Cadet Nick Bigogno of Lindenwood University in Missouri. “I’m ready for things to start going.”
Cadet Ching-Maou Wei of University of Hawaii at Manoa juggled his LTC preparation with a full-time job at a local five-star hotel, his studies in marine biology and training with his university’s ROTC department.
“I’ve been to PT with only two hours of sleep and done OK, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Wei said. “Everybody is here to learn. It’ll be a learning experience as we go along.”
Wei isn’t alone in his intensified preparation for the course. Bigogno, who was an athlete during his years as an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, said he used that training as a foundation for his physical fitness.
“I was on a soccer scholarship for my undergrad, so I’ve been running and doing weights, trying to stay fit,” Bigogno said.
Even if Cadets didn’t know exactly what to expect from this summer’s course, they still intensified workouts to prepare and improve their physical fitness.
“I’ve been working out every day, a lot of running and weight-lifting, since I decided to come, and I decided to come back in March,” said Cadet Meghan Guerrera of Temple University in Pennsylvania. “I haven’t done anything like this before.”
The opportunity to try new activities and learn about the Army motivated Guerrera’s decision to participate in this summer’s LTC.
“It was curiosity driven,” Guerrera said. “I’m excited about the obstacle courses, swimming and for anything that I’m going to learn.”
The next 29 days offer Cadets, like Guerrera, the chance to learn a lot, from the Army values to rappelling and land navigation. They also are able to experience the Army way of life and use their time here as a way to decide if they want to pursue a career in one of the Army’s many branches.
“It’s a possible career path,” Wei said. “I like to keep my options open. I’d like to do something with communications, intel or something along those lines in the Army. I was thinking something with my major, which is marine biology, but I don’t know what’s there for it in the Army.”
Although Wei is uncertain about his future career path with the Army, he’s ready to put his training, which included morning and evening PT sessions, basic rifle marksmanship classes and land navigation classes, to work and to take on the challenges LTC has to offer.
“You want to finish, and you want to finish well,” Wei said. “It’s going to be a whole new experience. I’ve done training, PT, CrossFit, all that, but I’ve heard it’s going to be different. It should be fun.”