Cadets and their summer training
by Maj. Gen. Jerrold P. Allen
Traveling to Argentina for a two-week cultural immersion sponsored by the Olmsted Foundation were Cadet Regimental Commander Mike Raines and cadets Megan Vance, Jennifer Henszey, David Mendonsa, and Robert Read. While in Argentina, these cadets saw various areas of the country, spent two days with an Argentine family on a ranch, made a day trip to Uruguay, visited the Argentine Naval War College, met with the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy, and performed a community service project in an elder care facility.
Among the individual service branches, Navy ROTC cadets traditionally have the most exciting travel opportunities. For example, immediately following her Olmsted Foundation experience in Argentina, Henszey flew to Australia to join the USS Juneau, a navy amphibious transport. Krista Beernink flew an F-18 sortie from the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, experiencing the thrill of catapult launches and arrested landings. Benjamin Knott was one of just two cadets chosen from a nationwide pool of more than 1,000 to intern at the innovation and experimentation laboratory at Joint Forces Command Headquarters in Norfolk, Va. It was no surprise that Benjamin was selected for this coveted slot: he has a perfect 4.0 QCA after three years in mechanical engineering. Additionally, 10 Marine ROTC members went to Quantico, Va., for Officer Candidate School, passing the grueling course with flying colors.
Many Air Force cadets attended field training at various Air Force bases, with five earning Distinguished Graduate recognition by finishing in the top 10 percent: Jonathan Bonilla, Nolan Faulkner, Stephan Frye, Purvis Gaddis, and Bryant Tomlin.
For the second consecutive year, Army ROTC cadets performed superbly at the Leadership Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Wash. Thirty-one percent of our cadets earned the top rating, "excellent." Comparatively, the "excellent" ratings for the other senior military colleges were 25 percent for North Georgia, 21 percent for the Citadel, 19 percent for VMI, 15 percent for Norwich, and 15 percent for Texas A&M. Our cadets also had the highest physical-fitness-test average and the highest scores in land navigation. Nineteen percent of our cadets earned the coveted RECONDO award--which rewards cadets who get the highest ranking in nine areas of performance--compared to 7 percent from the Citadel, 4 percent from VMI, and 3 percent from Texas A&M. Among the top performers were Kip Beach, who was first in his unit of 55 cadets from across the nation, and Katherine Haimann, who won the Pathfinder Award for the fastest land-navigation completion time. Additionally, at the Army ROTC leadership course, Andrew Rosado won the Bold Leader Award as the best in his unit of 255 cadets.
Our cadets have achieved excellence and demonstrated the Ut Prosim spirit while training to serve as leaders of the future for the commonwealth and the nation. They make us proud.
Maj. Gen. Jerrold P. Allen is commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.