Cadet Summer Training, the annual capstone event for the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) is the largest training event on the U.S. Army’s calendar. This year, over 5,000 Millennials will descend on Fort Knox, straining the logistical limits of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, an organization who’s complexity rivals that of a Fortune 100 company.
A Tradition Of Leadership.
The ROTC officially began with the National Defense Act of 1916. Civilian universities featured military education programs since the early 19th century. The National Defense standardized the various programs.
Some of these young people have been in the program for 3 years and are headed for “Advanced Camp.” This is a course designed with a two-fold approach: First, it prepares Cadets for their senior year as when they will be called upon to lead, mentor, and train the junior Cadets in their respective home battalions. Second, Advanced Camp serves as a precursor to the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC). Newly commissioned Second Lieutenants will attend a BOLC, in order to gain a basic proficiency in their branch specialty.
“Lateral entry” Cadets, on the other hand, are students typically transitioning from their Sophomore to their Junior year and attend “Basic Camp.” Basic Camp is an initial entry course. The curriculum focuses on the rudimentary skills taught to recruits but at an accelerated pace. Basic Camp is often the first exposure to the Army for the overwhelming majority of attendees.
Every single Cadet in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a volunteer, hailing from hundreds of schools spread out over the United States and its territories. They are a source of pride for their parents, and the recipients of deep and abiding gratitude from their nation.
Diverse Yet United.
The Cadets come from every ethnicity and from all over the socio-economic spectrum. They are multi-cultural, yet unified by their love of country and a desire to ensure it’s continued liberty. They are unified by a calling to serve, a calling to Man The Wall.
As George Orwell is credited with saying, “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
Millennials come under a lot of scrutiny and criticism – much of it justified, but no more so than previous generations.
Socrates said over 2,500 years ago: “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
I say, “not so fast.” Perhaps you’ve lost faith in this generation. You’ve observed the apparent addiction to the smart phones, and the game consoles. True, many have extended their adolescence far beyond what is healthy. If you are truly pessimistic about the future of your nation, take a look at what’s going on at Fort Knox this Summer.
You’ll see 5,000 of our future leaders step up.