VERMILLION, S.D. -- When it comes to ROTC training and leadership, University of South Dakota Military Science students are among the best in the nation. Seven USD Army ROTC cadets were singled out for their excellence at the 2010 Leadership and Development Assessment Course (LDAC), which was at Fort Lewis, Wash., this summer.
Michael Arndt of Sioux City, Iowa, Courtney Buechler of Centerville, S.D., Justin Gartland of Rapid City, S.D., Alex Keller of Timber Lake, S.D., Shiloh McGruder of Highmore, S.D., Aaron Lacey of Trent, S.D., and Tyler Vela of San Antonio, Texas, achieved top honors during LDAC training in June and July.
ROTC Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) brings more than 5,300 Army ROTC cadets together for training and is the most important training event in their college career. The 32-day course incorporates a wide range of subjects designed to develop and evaluate leadership ability. According to Army Lt. Col. Tom Martin, professor of Military Science at USD, the challenges are rigorous and demanding, both mentally and physically as LDAC tests intelligence, common sense, ingenuity and stamina. Cadets are required to pass the training in order to become commissioned officers.
“These challenges provide a new perspective on an individual’s ability to perform exacting tasks and to make difficult decisions in demanding situations,” Martin added. “It’s also noteworthy that we are competing with and doing better than much larger schools such as the Universities of Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas.”
In consideration for the awards, USD was a part of a brigade of schools from several Midwestern states to complete the program. More than 690 ROTC cadets from Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota participated in the testing. It’s not the first time that USD ROTC students have fared well at LDAC. Since 2006, 33 percent of USD’s cadets have earned “Excellent” ratings at LDAC and the past three years have produced top 5 percent scores in the nation for LDAC performances.
“It lets us know that we’re on course and preparing for the next phase of training once we’ve completed training,” stated Lacey, a USD senior. “It also assures that the next set of cadets in our program know they will be prepared for challenges inside and outside of the classroom when they join the ROTC program at USD.”
A photo of cadets Keller, Gartland, Buechler, Arndt and Lacey with USD President James W. Abbott is available for download at www.usd.edu/press/news/images/releases/ROTC_2010Nov.jpg.