Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets spend 29 days of their summer at the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. and participate in intense training that includes shooting live machine gun rounds, going days without a shower and plunging into a lake from a zip line. After the pace slows and graduation arrives, Cadets can take pride in their accomplishments.
Cadet Daniel Brereton, Bravo Co., 8th Regiment, a mathematics major at Fordham University, said he learned practical application of working with a team at LDAC.
“I think the biggest thing is working with other people and working with others’ strengths and weaknesses,” said Daniel.
At the conclusion of training, some Cadets like Daniel are fortunate enough to have their families attend the ceremony.
Andy Brereton, director of projects and planning at Seton Hall University and from Glen Gardner, N.J., sat with his family on the sparsely populated bleachers July 23, waiting to catch a glimpse of his son Daniel march by during the ceremony. He said he always knew Daniel was a leader.
“He’s got that jaw,” said Andy with a smile.
Andy came to LDAC last year as an educator, during which he got to participate in some of the same activities the Cadets did. He said it helped him understand what Daniel would be going through this year, even though Andy’s family is no stranger to the military. Several of their family members have served the country, including his three other sons.
“To work in education and have all your kids graduate from college and have jobs is a big deal,” said Andy.
The separation from their Cadets is never easy for families, though. Janet Andrew, Daniel’s mother, from Glassboro, N.J., said she worried about her son as any mother would for the past 29 days.
“I was anxious to know how he was doing,” said Andrew. “All the worries I had were unfounded because he did very well.”
Linda Cunningham, Andy’s fiancée, said she was glad to see Daniel becoming part of such an important American institution.
“We’re just really proud of him and all he’s accomplished and that [all the Cadets] want to serve their country,” said Cunningham.
In order to serve his country, Daniel said LDAC taught him to exude confidence for the Soldiers he will one day lead.
“I want [my Soldiers] to be confident in themselves,” said Daniel. “If they’re confident in me, they’ll be confident in themselves as well.”
With another step toward commissioning completed, Daniel reflected on his time at JBLM as being effective for his future career.
“A lot of people complain about LDAC…but it’s good training, and you get what you put into it,” said Daniel. “When everyone’s in it and dedicated, that’s when you get the best training.”
Story by Monica Spees.