JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – While many college students take vacations during the summer, Army cadets are busy training to be the U.S. military’s future leaders.
For three weeks this summer, eight cadets shadowed junior officers from 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division as part of the Cadet Leadership Training program, known as CTLT. The program is selective, reserved for cadets with competitive grade point averages, army physical fitness test scores, and class rankings.
CTLT is part of a larger effort by I Corps to enrich the professional development of cadets during summer training at JBLM.
“Only a small percentage get to attend CTLT,” said Cadet Andrew Marshall, an ROTC student at University of Idaho, and Post Falls, Idaho, native.
According to Lt. Col. Michael Trotter, the 2-1 Inf. battalion commander, the program allows rising senior cadets an opportunity to go out to the force and experience the Army from a lieutenant’s point of view.
Each of the cadets shadowed a second lieutenant and assumed the role of either a platoon or assistant platoon leader. Their sponsor guided them as they prepared for training meetings, organized exercises such as an upcoming Expert Infantry Badge qualification, and conducted physical readiness training.
“They are taking what they learned in their military science classes and putting it to practical application on the ground in a real unit, with real people and real NCOs,” said Trotter, a Brooklyn native.
Cadet Alexander Henriod, a Las Vegas native enrolled in the University of Nevada’s ROTC program, said he and his fellow cadets had their own ideas about what being commissioned would be like. He added, “Until you experience it you don’t really know.”
“It’s completely different from what I expected, but I like it,” Marshall said.
Marshall and Henriod both agreed they were welcomed into the unit as members of a team. Based on their positive experiences with 2-1 Inf., both say they want to commission as infantry officers.
“He is excited for the future and has learned a lot,” said Erika Arthur, Henriod’s mother. “He has stepped into the leadership role and takes more initiative.”
Henriod said all the “hooah stuff” is great, but it’s the daily task that has taught him about being a leader.
“I want to be a leader. I learned you have to follow sometimes,” Marshall said, echoing a sentiment Trotter knows well.
“You have to be the led before you can be the leader,” Trotter said.