Cadets plan for the future before graduation

U.S. Army photo by Cydney McFarland.

U.S. Army photo by Cydney McFarland.

With only 24 hours standing between Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets and graduation from the Leader Development and Assessment Course, it’s very easy for them to focus on the end. But on their last morning before graduation at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Cadets have to recognize that the end is just the beginning.

On July 18, 5th and 6th regiments attended Branch Orientation, a job fair for Cadets to get a snapshot view of possible Army career paths to branch into as second lieutenants. Held outdoors with each branch occupying a tent, Cadets got the opportunity to observe five different branches during the morning.

Larry Roberts, Branch Orientation officer in charge, said Cadets should take advantage of the chance at LDAC to gather information on various job possibilities.

“In essence, they’re getting time to assess the branches, to make an informed decision,” said Roberts.

In addition to 16 branches that included aviation, cavalry and field artillery, the Chaplain Corps, National Guard, Army Reserve, Cadet Command Sessions Staff and Judge Advocate General’s Corps also had booths for Cadets to tour. Some branches offered water bottles or notepads with the branch’s advertising, while others introduced hands-on investigation of equipment or weapons.

Although choosing a job for at least the next eight years could be a daunting decision for Cadets, Roberts emphasized the primary function of Branch Orientation.

“The big thing is we’re bringing branches and Cadets together,” said Roberts.

Cadet Matthew Schmincke, Bravo Co., 6th Regiment, from Smithfield, Va., and a student at Virginia Military Institute, spent the second rotation at the military police tent, where MPs showed a video with several images of military law enforcement in action and the theme song from “Cops” as the main soundtrack.

Schmincke planned on visiting the National Guard, armor and transportation corps tents to see more possibilities, but his first choice was field artillery.

“It’s just that really cool aspect,” said Schmincke. “You get to shoot the big guns.”

Schmincke had thought about federal law enforcement on the civilian side, and that led him to the MP tent. He said he was still “on the fence” about what he wanted to do, but that his leadership was paramount.

“I want to be the type of leader who’s firm in decisions…but also a point of contact,” he said. “Having that relationship with Soldiers is what I’m really looking forward to.”

Staff Sgt. Steven Moser, squad leader at the MP tent, said he and the other MP personnel try to give Cadets a realistic view of their branch so they can understand all aspects of the job, not just the “cool stuff.”

“A lot of things they hear about all the time isn’t what the officers do, it’s what the enlisted guys do,” said Moser, referring to actions like kicking in doors.

But Moser said whatever branch Cadets choose, they have to be satisfied with their decision.

“Be it that you’re civilian or be it that you’re in the military, you have to love what you do,” he said.

Story by Monica Spees.


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