JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith, commanding general, U.S. Army Cadet Command, stopped by the 2013 Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. from June 19 through June 20 to observe Cadet training and ensure the goals for this year's camp are being met.

During the visit, Smith toured the Army physical fitness test, land navigation training and basic rifle marksmanship range.

Col. John Kelly, commander of Cadet Command's 8th Brigade, said it is important for the Cadets to see someone like Smith at LDAC.

"For Cadets to see him sends a message that it is important that a leader wants to come out and see how the training is going, how they're performing and get a little feedback from Cadets to ensure that the intended outcomes we are trying to achieve are met," said Kelly.

Smith echoed similar sentiments regarding the importance of development and assessment to each Cadet's leadership progression.

"That's why we call it a leadership and development course so we can both develop their skills beyond where they are today and also assess where they are so we know what to work on," said Smith. "It's all to ensure that Cadets are ready to meet the Army standards."

Before heading back to Fort Knox, Ky., Smith sat down and ate dinner with 10 Cadets from the 4th Regiment to get their feedback on the effectiveness of the training.

"I think it made me realize why I am here more," said Cadet Christopher Salemme, of Furman University. "Like he said, this is a capstone training event so it's more than just an evaluation. It's really about learning and becoming the best second lieutenants we can be."

Toward the end of the dinner Smith imparted a lesson to the Cadets that he had learned as a young Cadet and still uses today.

"The key advice is to always do your best," said Smith. "All leaders, Soldiers and officers have strengths and weaknesses and one of the things we look for to develop these strengths is a pattern of lifelong learning."