The mission of 5,350 is more than just a number or a goal met. It is the effort of three USACC commanding generals and hundreds of people, some of whom have moved on to other assignments.

It's a good problem to have--so much quality, education and intelligence in the people who want to join your organization, but you only have so much room. That is the problem facing U.S. Army Cadet Command as it tries to decide which of the final six cadets will meet this year's magic commissioning number.

Every year U.S. Army Cadet Command strives to recruit the brightest young minds in the country and convince them to join the ROTC program. It looks for scholar-athlete leaders who will help lead the Army, and the various specialties that make up the organization, onto the world stage in nation-relation building capacities with capabilities in science, engineering and technology-- all while defending the country.

This year the command announced it had made its commission mission goal of 5,350 --but it was a hard choice on which of the last six cadets would get the final slot marking its commission mission of 5,350.

Would it be Harrison Fletcher, a criminal justice major who attended Appalachian State University? Or Tyler Hamilton, a forensic science major who will graduate from Olivet Nazarene University. But Paul Fitzpatrick, an engineer major from Western Michigan University who is going into the National Guard was also a strong possibility.

The choice was not made any easier with the addition of Rebecca Witten, a nursing major from the University of Southern Maine, or Carlos Lopes, physical sciences major who will graduate from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. And Terrance Hillie, who will graduate from the University of Memphis with a degree in philosophy could not be counted out.

But 5,350 is more than just a number or a goal met. It is the effort of three USAAC commanding generals and hundreds of people, some of whom have moved on to other assignments.

"This number is the celebration of a cumulative effort of hundreds of people who took young men and women who exemplify America and turned these young adults into leaders of character," said Col. Paul Webber, USACCs director of recruiting and retention.

Webber added that it takes four to five years to build, recruit, train and assess a group of graduates. All the final candidates had excellent qualities, good grades, top-notch recommendations and by all accounts would be fine leaders.

It is this "problem" that ROTC leadership enjoys having--where to put all the excellent young leaders. And yet, one or two things might set them apart from each other. So the message to the sophomores and juniors is this: keep leaning forward.

Page last updated Tue September 3rd, 2013 at 15:44