by DeJanay Booth
Photo By: Josh Newell
Two Cadets sat on top of a wall, approximately 15 feet high. Below them, their fellow comrades moved a piece of wood across a set of swinging ropes to use to get across. One at a time, cadets crawled across and stood on top of a column. The two Cadets sitting on the wall reached for them, grabbing their wrist and locking grips.
“All right, one. Two. Three,” said the cadets sitting on the wall.
After the count of three, the young soldiers leapt, placing their feet on the wall for support. The two Cadets on the wall pulled the soldiers up, getting them across.
“Come on. You can do it,” said one of the Cadets who stood just below them.
The cadets looked and jumped from the wall, landing on a blue mat while a supporter stood nearby, reassuring them that they would be fine when they jumped.
The wall was one of many stations Cadets in Fourth regiment of Leader Training Course (LTC) encountered on June 29. The instructions called for cadets to move from one place to another. Using rope and planks, they had to get the equipment or “casualty” across safely. The job seemed easy enough. It seemed like something that could be done. But the one thing Cadets needed more than the planks and rope was trust.
Second Lt. Catherine Hoke, the officer in charge for alpha company at the course, said: “On the outside looking in, it seems like they’re trying to complete the mission to a certain standard. If you look at it internally, it’s not about completing the mission. It’s about working together as a team and finding out your strengths and weaknesses and see where there are holes that you could fill in.”
Second Lt. Grant Cook, the officer in charge for bravo company at the course, said starting the course early in the LTC training was a good way for Cadets to make friends and build trust.
“Trust is the biggest foundation in the Army, in my opinion” Cook said. “You need to trust your subordinates and you need to trust your leaders. You need to be able to count on them when you need to, so they can count on you when they need to.”
Capt. Kapono Aki, the company training officer, said: “There’s very much an opportunity to think outside of the box. It’s the opportunity to work together and take multiple opinions.”
Aki said although cadets share opinions and suggestions, there was one person who made the final decision. In every task, one Cadet was squad leader and given a chance to lead a group.
Cadet Michael Woods, an upcoming freshman at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, was a squad leader for one of the stations. Woods said he enjoyed the leadership position despite its difficulty.
“It’s good because you get to learn everyone’s ideas and what they think is best,” Woods said. “It’s just eye-opening and I can’t wait to do it again.”
Woods said the most challenging part about being a squad leader was taking all of the suggestions and turning them into one plan.
“Everyone had so many great ideas except they didn’t mesh into one thing,” he said. However, Woods said he learned that mapping out a plan before executing it is helpful.