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UNG cadets shine in Army's summer training event

University of North Georgia Cadet David Bonham, right, received the Warrior Ethos Award for the 9th Regiment and was one of several UNG cadets who finished in the top 5 percent of their units at this summer's Leadership Development and Assessment Course.

Cadets from the University of North Georgia outperformed the nation's other senior military colleges in key measurements at the U.S. Army's annual Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) this summer.

LDAC Bucco
Cadet Theresa Bucco, center, nears the end of the 2-mile run during
this summer's LDAC training.

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 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., evaluated nearly 6,000 cadets from ROTC programs around the country. The 67 UNG cadets who participated this year excelled in the course.

Upon completion of the course, cadets are given a rating of "excellent," "satisfactory" or "non-satisfactory" based on overall performance. UNG had a higher percentage of cadets receiving an excellent rating (26.9 percent) than any of the nation's other five senior military colleges. The percentage marks a 50 percent increase over summer 2012.

"The UNG Corps of Cadets has a long-standing national reputation for excellence, and I am proud of today's cadets for upholding that strong tradition," said UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs. "Their outstanding performance at LDAC is a testament to their dedication and exceptional training."   

COL Todd Wilson, UNG's active-duty professor of military science, is also pleased with the results in an area that is a key indicator in how well a cadet may perform as a U.S. Army officer.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the hard work from our men and women in the corps and their initiative and desire to excel," Wilson said. "These overall ratings on cadet performance at LDAC are a quality indicator that the U.S. Army really pays attention to. The University of North Georgia has a history of commissioning the highest caliber of officers, and I am convinced we are on the right track to sustain this university's tradition of military excellence."

In a second assessment area – the percentage of cadets who placed in the top 5 percent of their units at LDAC – UNG cadets also performed well above their senior military college peers with 14.9 percent. The UNG cadets who finished in the top 5 percent of their units were: John Rafanelli, Bryce Thompson, Laura Simpson, Brent Anderson, Jessie Betts, Thaddeus Black, Bryan Moros, Henry Olliff, Jared Gregory, and David Bonham.

LDAC Bonham
Cadet Bryce Thompson, far right, is one of several UNG
cadets who finished in the top 5 percent of their unit.

Bonham also was presented the Warrior Ethos Award for the 9th regiment during the LDAC graduation ceremony. The award is presented to the cadet in each regiment who best demonstrates the values espoused in the U.S. Army's Warrior Ethos – I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade.

Wilson attributes cadet success to a focus on fundamentals by the Department of Military Science and the Corps of Cadets. Two semesters before the LDAC training began, Wilson began seeing results from a renewed focus on fundamentals including factors such as academic quality and physical fitness.

"Organizations succeed when they have highly-skilled individuals in their ranks who foster trust and teamwork. These three factors — trust, teamwork and competency — are interdependent, and having educated leaders and personnel is a precondition to success for any organization, military or civilian," Wilson said.

Later this fall, U.S. Army Cadet Command will release the National Order of Merit List (OML) which ranks all of the nation's Army ROTC cadets on factors such as LDAC performance, academics, physical training and leadership attributes. OML ranking determines the branch assignment, or specialization area, cadets are given when commissioning as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

This year’s Corps of Cadets at UNG numbers more than 800 students, making it the largest in the university’s history.

The six federally-designated senior military colleges are the University of North Georgia, the Citadel, Norwich University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech.

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