As of lately, I’ve been focusing more upon makeup and skincare tips and reviews for the past few weeks because there isn’t much to talk about when it comes to school. After passing my last mathematics class of my undergraduate career (Statistics), I considered myself to be on vacation even though I still had a summer detail* to complete.
*In order to graduate, a cadet must complete all of his or her summer details (AIAD, MIAD, or PIAD, CTLT, CLDT and a Leadership Detail) upon graduation. I’ve listed the definitions of the acronyms down below!
- AIAD = Academic Individual Advanced Development ( I completed this requirement as a freshman!)
- MIAD = Military Individual Advanced Development
- PIAD = Physical Individual Advanced Development
- CTLT = Cadet Troop Leadership Training
- CLDT = Cadet Leader Development Training
- Leadership Detail (Leadership Details serve to develop a cadet’s leadership skills by guiding a group of trainees through training. A cadet can satisfy this requirement by serving as a cadre member for CCBT – Cadet Candidate Basic Training, CBT – Cadet Basic Training, or CFT – Cadet Field Training).
I completed CTLT today, so while all of the memories are still fresh in my mind, I wanted to share what it was like and how I intend on applying the experience to my first semester back at USMA as a (cadet) platoon sergeant.
To begin with, it was really nice to get to sleep in a hotel for the past three weeks! Every day I would wake up at around 6 to do PT (Physical Training) for an hour and a half and then I would have another hour and a half to shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast before going to work. “Work” consisted of “shadowing” lieutenants in the battalion I was assigned to.
Over the course of three weeks, I “shadowed” three lieutenants in the 7th Engineer Battalion at Fort Drum, New York. The first officer I had the opportunity to shadow is a Military Intelligence officer in an Executive Officer (XO) position. As an XO, you are responsible a number of tasks to include (but are not limited to): maintaining accountability the company’s platoon leaders (other officers), accountability and maintenance of the company’s equipment, and you stand-in as the company commander if for any reason the company commander is absent. I also had the opportunity to work alongside both the supply officer and the maintenance platoon leader for the battalion. I won’t bore you with the specifics, but I truly enjoyed each experience with every single person I interacted with.
Unfortunately, what goes up, always comes down. During my last week at Fort Drum, a lapse in communication caused me to miss out on one of the last events cadets are required to attend near the end of the detail. At the time, I took it personally. I went out of my way each and every day to ensure that everyone (including those who didn’t have sponsors) knew what to wear, where to be, and what time to be there. Why didn’t anyone do the same for me? Out of everyone who was to attend this function, why was I the only one who was left out?
After a quick chit-chat with leadership, I realized that I can utilize that (trivial) experience as a teaching tool. As a solider (regardless of rank), it is always important to:
- Ensure that everyone feels included (even if you don’t want to).
- Keep accountability of those you’re responsible for (and for your peers).
- Communicate effectively!
- Remain positive (even when Negative Nancy rears her ugly head).
Spending time with both commissioned and enlisted soldiers, in and out of the office, visually reminded me of the transition I’m making in order to secure my future. I can’t wait to graduate, commission, and lead! I took pleasure in learning from both the enlisted soldiers and officers because it gave me some insight as to what I have to look forward to upon the completion of BOLC. (The purpose of Basic Officer Leadership Course or BOLC is to teach newly commissioned officers small unit tactics and the specifics of the systems and equipment they will use in their duty unit.) Through this experience (and many more that are sure to come) I long to continue to inspire my subordinates, superiors, and peers alike. I understand that I may not always get it right the first time, but I’m more than willing to make the necessary changes in order to get it right the next time (and alleviate others from making the same mistakes I did)!