Former enlisted soldier training to join officer ranks
August 8, 2013
BAUMHOLDER, Germany - As a soldier he has been through basic training, worn the U.S. Army uniform, worked on vehicles and fired a weapon. He has experienced what it is like to wake up early and do physical readiness training. In Germany, this former enlisted soldier, received his first taste of what it will be like to be an officer.
Cadet Devon E. Brown, a Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from the University of Texas at El Paso, a native of El Paso, Texas, and a former military police soldier in the U.S. Army Reserves, conducted cadet troop leadership training with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's 240th Quartermaster Company, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade at Smith Barracks, July 17 through Aug. 8.
A day in the life of this cadet going through CTLT begins much as it did when he was an enlisted soldier. Brown woke up and attended morning formation and PRT with the platoon, then returned to his room to conduct personal hygiene and prepare for the day. The difference this time, is that he attended this formation as an acting platoon leader, not as a soldier in the ranks.
"I tried to do as much with the soldiers as I could," Brown said. "Physical readiness training was one of the opportunities where I first saw the difference from my enlisted time, standing out as a platoon leader and not in the ranks as a soldier."
Brown reported for duty at the company every morning, but instead of being presented with the tasks he mastered as a soldier, he learned about the responsibilities an officer is charged with. Officers from the 240th QM Co. taught Brown how to write Officer Evaluation Reports, Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Reports, awards, memorandums and to account for property using hand receipts. His sponsors also coached their cadet in the art of conducting equipment inventories and had him supervise weekly Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services, said 1st Lt. Ryan J. Slagle, the 240th QM Co. executive officer and a native of Grand Rapids, Ohio.
"One of the goals of CTLT is to show the cadet a well rounded view of what is expected of a new officer, so we tried to show him as much as possible," Slagle said. "I think this is a very valuable experience for a cadet and it is something I definitely wish I would have had available to me before going through Officer Candidate School."
With each learned skill and each new task, Brown saw how different his life as an officer would be from his days as an enlisted soldier.
"It is a completely new side of the Army to me," said Brown. "It is a significant difference in responsibility and I never realized how much is expected of an officer. I am up to the challenge."
Cadet Brown also received hands-on experience in leadership during a 240B machine gun weapons range by assisting the range officer in charge. He also went through and learned to operate the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer, said 1st Lt. Christopher D. Carlstedt, a platoon leader with the 240th QM Co. and a native of Littleton, Colo.
"Cadet Brown has done a great job since he's been here. He put in a lot of effort and asked a lot of questions," Carlstedt said. "He's very mature and I think his time as an enlisted soldier will help him in the future. I think his time as an enlisted soldier will help him relate to the troops he leads when he becomes an officer. "
At the end of CTLT, Brown expressed how valuable the experience was for him personally.
"When I get commissioned I want to be a Quartermaster Officer, so being assigned to the 240th has been an incredibly valuable experience," Brown said. "I feel like this will prepare me for when I become an officer. I enjoyed this experience, I enjoyed the work and I was very privileged to be able to come to Germany and be a part of this great unit."