Army ROTC outperforms peers

Katherine Colucy

Kent’s senior members of the Army ROTC outperformed cadets from its 17 sister schools at the Leadership Development Assessment Course over the summer.

LDAC, held at Fort Lewis, Wash., is similar to basic training in other military branches, but has some differences.

“LDAC is based toward making officers that are leaders and gentlemen,” said Dan Huff, a senior justice studies major who participated in LDAC over the summer. “We didn’t get yelled at, and we didn’t have to drop for push-ups.”

Rosario Carbone, a senior justice studies major who took the LDAC this summer, has also gone through the Army’s basic training. Carbone said the LDAC is more intense than basic training because leadership skills are assessed more.

“Physically, they were about the same but mentally, LDAC is a lot tougher,” Carbone said. “I would describe LDAC as a 33-day experience that assesses one’s ability to lead cadets in real life situations.”

While taking the LDAC, cadets learn many new skills, from Brazilian jujitsu to first aid, Huff said. They also train for field exercises.

He said throwing a live hand grenade and sliding down a 57-foot tower were two of his favorite experiences during the LDAC. 

“Anything that gets my adrenaline pumping, I like,” Huff said.

Both Carbone and Huff said they enjoyed the food from the dining hall during the LDAC.

“It’s so good, and they give you so much of it,” Carbone said.

However, the prepackaged meals they ate while doing field exercises were terrible, Carbone said.

The cadets also spend 11 days doing field exercises where they complete as many as six missions per day. Carbone said the missions are meant to simulate real situations such as clearing an urban environment, controlling hostage situations and dealing with civilian interruptions while in battle. During the missions, one cadet is chosen as the leader and his or her leadership skills are graded.

“Your first three years of ROTC are gearing up for this camp,” Huff said. “Your scores determine what you do in the Army.”

Carbone said his opportunity to lead missions was a great experience.

“It prepares you for what you will experience in your unit,” he said

Huff said the course also gives you the opportunity to learn how to work as a team.

“The neat part is, the course takes place with people from all over the United States,” Huff said. “There are different cultures, races and religions all working together. It gives you a new appreciation for other people because you have to put your differences aside.”

Huff said the downside of working as a team is “you’ve always got one guy who doesn’t want to be a team player.”

Carbone also said it was difficult “dealing with cadets within my squad that weren’t as prepared as the rest of us.”

Carbone said he is not surprised that the ten cadets from Kent performed better than the other 17 schools.

“I knew from the past few years with these cadets that we would do good,” Carbone said. “We have a tight-bonded class. We are always pushing each other,” Carbone said.

He also said the cadets that graduated before him prepared them well for the LDAC, but “as well as we were prepared, I still learned a lot of new things.”

Huff said he is glad he completed the LDAC because “it’s one of the barriers between yourself and getting into the Army.”

Contact ROTC reporter Katherine Colucy at [email protected].