By Sydney Callis
Leader’s Training Course
When Cadets arrive at Louisville International Airport to begin their 29 days of training, they’re greeted by newly commissioned second lieutenants working with their company.
Second Lt. Ashley Delos Reyes, who commissioned in May, introduced Echo Company Cadets to the Leader’s Training Course lifestyle on the 45-minute bus ride to Fort Knox.
Standing in the aisle at the front of the bus, Delos Reyes began her mentoring by talking with Cadets, answering their questions and offering advice the entirety of the trip.
“I knew I would be the first impression,” Delos Reyes said. “I didn’t want to go in and try to scare them, especially when I knew they were going to get that in 45 minutes anyway. I just wanted to be the example and show them what an officer should be like.”
During her years at George Mason University in Virginia, which she graduated from in May with a psychology degree, Delos Reyes participated in the ROTC program. Her time at the Patriot Battalion provided her with insight and experience beneficial to use in mentoring these Cadets.
“I’m going to do anything I can to help them,” Delos Reyes said. “I talk about my experiences at LDAC (Leader Development and Assessment Course), how I felt as an MSI (first-year ROTC student), what I did for an FTX (field training exercise), how to wear the uniform and just things I can tell them ahead of time so they don’t get in trouble. I want to be a guide, a role model and lead by example.”
Delos Reyes’s motivation for becoming a Soldier came from seeing the discipline necessary to be successful, something she began to notice while involved in JROTC in high school.
“I saw the shift between a civilian and someone in the military,” Delos Reyes said. “The discipline of the military really does affect you. It keeps you structured. Everything from high school and college started falling into place because I was more disciplined with myself.”
Delos Reyes’s job working with the Cadets simulates the ROTC program she went through, where loyalty and teamwork were emphasized.
“When you’re an MSI, you really don’t know what you’re doing either,” Delos Reyes said. “MSIs pair up with older, more experienced ROTC Cadets, and that’s kind of how it is structured here.”
Lt. Col. Brian Slack, chief of training for LTC, said the second lieutenants working in the companies are able to form better bonds with Cadets because of the small age difference.
“A few months ago, they were a Cadet, too,” Slack said. “Generationally, they can connect with the LTC Cadets who are generally two years younger than they are. Whereas, if I’m out there trying to connect with them, they’re looking at me like I’m their parent. When we use young officers and junior NCOs, they can relate to one another easier.”
With her years of ROTC training, Delos Reyes, who is now a squad tactical officer with Golf Company, is ready to use her training and experience to mentor her company’s Cadets, who arrive Sunday.
“I’m new to the Army, and that’s not something I necessarily want to tell them,” Delos Reyes said. “I definitely want to show that I’m confident, and I want to relay what I know to kind of prepare them.”