FORT BRAGG, NC, UNITED STATES
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - An officer takes his place in front of a platoon of soldiers. The lieutenant is only a few years older than the youngest of the group. Despite limited experience in the field or operational deployments, Army lieutenants are responsible for the leadership and care of every Soldier in the platoon.
This is the reality for newly commissioned officers in the Army. To prepare future officers from the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA) and the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), the 82nd Sustainment Brigade pairs cadets with junior officers as part of the Army’s Cadet Troop Leadership Training (CTLT) Program.
The CTLT program is three weeks of experience in an Active Duty unit, where cadets assume leadership positions outside the college classroom to prepare for operations in the Army following their commission. The 82nd Sustainment Brigade hosted 13 cadets in July; five from West Point and eight from the ROTC.
As part of the leadership training, mentors trained cadets to run weapons ranges, instruct classes in basic Soldiering skills, write operations orders, and conduct practice counselings for NCOs. The cadets were placed in junior officer level positions to gain a better understanding of an active Army officer’s day-to-day duties.
“Being involved in the CTLT is great because it gives me an idea of what will be expected of me when I get assigned to my first unit,” said Michael Reynolds, ROTC cadet and Lakeland, Fla., native. “Having an opportunity to interact with both officers and noncommissioned officers is a great opportunity to see what the operational Army is like.”
Some of the 82nd Sustainment Brigade junior officer mentors participated in the CTLT program when they were cadets, and to them, being able to create a positive learning experience was a way to pass on some of what they enjoy about the Army.
“As a former ROTC cadet myself, I am glad that I can give back to the program and help other cadets as they work towards commissioning,” said 1Lt. Michael Camacho, 329th Movement Control Team executive officer and Puerto Rico native. “Showing cadets how to be leaders is an integral part of their training,”
“I participated in the CTLT as a cadet myself, and it was very helpful,” said 1Lt. Jeremy Paro, 8th Ordnance Company executive officer and Richmond, Vt., native. “While in school you have very little interaction with NCOs and junior enlisted personnel; so coming here gives a better idea of the day-to-day interactions. I’ve had my assigned cadet sit in on counselings so he gets to see the interactions of a platoon leader or an executive officer with his Soldiers.”
ROTC cadets are taught classes by active duty military as a part of their college curriculum, so they have had some interaction with experienced Soldiers. Senior NCOs teach the cadets during their freshman and junior year, and commissioned officers teach during their sophomore and senior year. These instructors have been in the Army for many years, and have been selected carefully for the responsibility of teaching cadets.
West Point military instructors are officers hand-picked for their positions. During the school year, there is little-to-no interaction with Soldiers to prepare a cadet for the transition to a lieutenant responsible for a platoon.
“At West Point, we get to be in leadership positions, but it’s usually with guys two or three years younger than we are,” said Justin Aid, West Point cadet and Fort Rucker, Ala., native.
“Coming to the 82nd Sustainment Brigade, I’ve learned that in the Army there is a wide range of people you have to interact with. To be a successful leader, you have to be able to navigate the diversity of the people you’re working with to ensure that the mission is being completed while your soldiers’ basic needs are still being met.”
Airborne-qualified cadets have the opportunity to learn about airborne operations in addition to basic Soldier skills. These cadets were able to conduct their first non-training airborne jump after attending the three-week Army Airborne School.
Bridgette Bachman, a ROTC cadet and Orlando, Fla., native, was one of the few airborne-qualified cadets assigned to the 82nd Sustainment Brigade and had the opportunity to participate in the Chaplain’s Anniversary Jump into Sicily Drop Zone on July 25.
“Being airborne-qualified is an advantage, as there are not many cadets who are,” said Bachman. “Getting a chance to jump here on Fort Bragg with ranking officers helps me to learn leadership from a hands-on perspective.”
Providing opportunities for cadets to experience a lieutenant’s life in the 82nd Sustainment Brigade prepares them for the day they get commissioned and allows the junior officers a chance to pass on some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Every summer, as cadets come to Fort Bragg, the 82nd Sustainment Brigade takes pride in sponsoring future Army leaders by providing a unique leadership experience.
||FORT BRAGG, NC, US
||SAN JUAN, PR
||ANNANDALE, MN, US
||BERWICK, ME, US
||FORT RUCKER, AL, US
||LAKELAND, FL, US
||ORLANDO, FL, US
This work, 82nd SB Instills a Culture of Leadership through CTLT Program, by SPC David McCarthy, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.