The University of North Georgia's Corps of Cadets has begun fall semester with top-notch scores earned at summer training and a strength of 810 as of Aug. 18.
COL Todd Wilson, UNG's active-duty professor of military science and head of the Department of Military Science, said the changing nature of 21st century military operations entails developing an Army officer who can think critically.
"We are developing cadets to be commissioned officers who can fight and win our nation's wars," Wilson said. "By the time a cadet graduates, the Army needs to be able to determine who can lead and who cannot. Developing cadets into better leaders – not just training them to pass a test – has resulted in their performing well at LDAC and other measurements."
The "Bold Transformation" initiative by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, which aims to transform leader development, emphasizes student-focused instruction that encourages active listening and critical thinking from the very beginning of a cadet's professional development.
UNG's methods already follow this focus, which is successfully producing well-rounded cadet leaders. This semester, the university will honor 19 senior cadets as Distinguished Military Students, which requires a cadet to be in the upper half of the academic class, the upper third of the ROTC class, and the upper third of the university's Order of Merit List (OML). Last year, nine UNG cadets earned that honor.
"The UNG Corps of Cadets has a long-standing national reputation for excellence, and I am proud that today's cadets are upholding that strong tradition," said UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs. "Their academic excellence and outstanding performance at LDAC is a testament to their dedication and the exceptional work the Department of Military Science is doing to develop cadets to lead in our communities, across the nation and around the world."
This summer, all 78 UNG cadets who attended the U.S. Army's annual Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) passed the course, including six who were assessed as the number one cadet in their platoon. In total, 18 percent of UNG cadets placed in the top 5 percent of their platoon at LDAC. Each platoon is made up of some 48 cadets from around the country.
|2nd Lt. Michael Munson, one of six UNG cadets assessed as number one in their
platoons, receives his shoulder boards by Sgt. First Class Phillip Miller, a UNG
instructor. Munson commissioned at the end of LDAC.
LDAC is the capstone training and assessment exercise for the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and is required of all cadets who will be commissioning into the U.S. Army upon graduation from college. This year's LDAC, held for the first time at Fort Knox, Kentucky, evaluated nearly 6,000 cadets from ROTC programs around the country.
Cadets are rated "excellent," "satisfactory" or "non-satisfactory" based on overall performance; 51 percent of UNG cadets earned an "E" assessment. Additionally, UNG's peer assessment average – a measure of how cadets are ranked by fellow cadets from other programs – was 110.50.
National LDAC averages won't be announced until later this fall, but Wilson is pleased with the performance of UNG's cadets.
"Our cadets deployed to LDAC with drive, desire, determination, and the discipline to improve their leader attributes and competencies and we are all exceptionally proud of their accomplishments," Wilson said.
He praised UNG's instructors, including Sgt. First Class Phillip Miller, who was the non-commissioned officer primarily responsible for mentoring third-year cadets, and Sgt. First Class David Smith, who will compete in the U.S. Army's Best Warrior Competition in October.
This semester, UNG welcomed 211 new cadets who successfully completed Freshmen Orientation Group training, also called FROG Week, which is run by upper-class cadets to help new recruits transition from civilian to military life.
"The cadets get leadership experience," said MAJ (retired) Richard Neikirk, assistant commandant of cadets. "They plan and execute this event with coaching and mentoring from staff, but they run the whole show. That's why I think we graduate such great cadets — they 'do' leadership 24 hours a day."