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FROG Week brings back memories for new commandant

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UNG's newest cadets completed FROG Week, which included leadership reaction courses at Pine Valley Recreation Complex, the week of Aug. 11-17.

Retired Army Col. Joseph Matthews experienced a sense of nostalgia as he provided encouragement and direction to incoming freshmen cadets as part of the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Freshman Recruit Orientation Group (FROG) Week held Aug. 11-17.

Matthews marched in their shoes exactly 30 years earlier in 1989. This summer, the 1994 alumnus joined UNG as commandant of cadets. He follows retired Col. James T. Palmer, who served in the role from 1999-2019 after a 26-year Army career. Matthews retired after 26 years of military service to take the position at UNG.

Matthews said each day is like a military operation during FROG Week. Such physical and mental tests form strong bonds among the cadets.

"You now have a group of friends who you can rely on for the rest of your college career," Matthews said.

For Matthews, that extended into his military career. He later served alongside Col. Paul D. Howard in the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and they still recalled their FROG Week memories all those years later. Howard is now commander of the 21st Signal Brigade in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Matthews said lessons instilled in FROG Week set a solid foundation for UNG's cadets in the Corps of Cadets and eventually civilian or military careers.

"Attention to detail makes you a better leader," Matthews said. "Those details lead to success."

About 190 FROGs made the transition from civilians to cadets this August, and about 25 percent were women while about 25 percent were minority students. From rifle range training to an academics introduction, incoming cadets were presented with a great deal of information about UNG and how the Corps of Cadets fits within the university.

They also completed grueling leadership exercises at Pine Valley, rappelled at the Army Rangers' Camp Frank D. Merrill and capped off the week with the Crown Mountain Run the morning of the traditional FROG Week graduation.

"Everyone's working together to accomplish the same mission," said freshman cadet James Sanders from Canton, Georgia.

Shane Lieu, a freshman cadet from Marietta, Georgia, participated in JROTC in high school before enrolling at UNG. The collaborative aspect of FROG Week appealed to him.

"We help each other out, so we don't leave anyone behind," Lieu said.

Transcript

Cadet Col. Logan Scott is the Boar's Head Brigade commander for the Corps for the 2019-20 school year, only the second woman ever to be named to the role. Scott, a junior from Pembroke, Georgia, is hoping to inspire other young women in the Corps to try different specialty units.

"I really try to encourage those female cadets to go out and try those things," Scott said. "Their name gets out there, and it shows how strong their will is to get out there and try it."

Scott is on the UNG Military Scholarship as a member of the Georgia Army National Guard. The state offers 42 of these scholarships each year to Georgia high school seniors to attend UNG, graduate with a bachelor's degree and commission as officers in the Georgia Army National Guard. The scholarship pays for room, meals, tuition, books, uniforms, and fees. They must be enlisted in the National Guard while in the Corps of Cadets.

Scott's leadership role harkens back to a statement she made to her father upon receiving her acceptance into the Corps as a high school senior. A brochure from Cadet Admissions had a picture with the brigade commander leading cadets in an exercise.

"That's going to be me," she told her father.

Three years later, she has made good on that prediction.

Scott said the Crown Mountain Run at the end of FROG Week is always a highlight.

"It's a big accomplishment for the FROGs," she said. "It's just a sense of relief and accomplishment and happiness all at once."

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