By 1st Lt. Mikel WeichJuly 1, 2014
FORT STEWART, GA. - Sometimes as a leader it is important to take the time to reflect on where one comes from and what one has done. 1st Lt. James Rafferty, an infantry officer with 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, had the opportunity to reflect on where he came from as he trained, taught, and mentored cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, from May 20 to June 16 during the Cadet Leader Development Training.
"I feel at home here, and I am grateful and honored to be given the opportunity to give back to the Academy," said Rafferty. "Being here reminds me of all the reasons training is so important."
Cadet Leader Development Training assesses first and second class cadets and their ability to lead under stress, solve tactical problems and demonstrate proficiency in individual, leader and small unit tasks.
"The Army trains cadets in particular in these settings to prepare them to lead the Army's most valuable assets which are the soldiers and noncommissioned officers that make up our ranks," said the Haddon Heights, New Jersey, native.
Rafferty, the platoon leader for 3rd Platoon, Company C, 3-15 Inf., pushed the cadets to strive for their best as they conducted the summer training.
"Cadets need to be trained and challenged continuously during their cadet careers," said Rafferty. "Being back here reminds me of all the challenges I faced as a cadet; now that I have been a platoon leader I fully comprehend the reasons why the Academy stresses character, leadership, and tough training."
Rafferty said Army officers are held to a high standard; their decisions, actions, and words matter to soldiers because it ultimately affects their soldier's lives.
Throughout the Cadet Leader Development Training, Rafferty and other trainers made it their mission to set the conditions and standards that every future army officer must be prepared to meet as they enter the Army profession.
Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Brinkley, the platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon, said, "From our first days working together you could see that Lieutenant Rafferty had a special grasp for mentoring soldiers."
"He really enjoys teaching, coaching, and mentoring, so I think this opportunity to train cadets, given that he was one himself at one time, was perfect for him," added Brinkley, a Washington, D.C., native.
Rafferty concluded, "No matter what training we are conducting, ... when a cadet makes a mistake, no matter how large or small, our goal is to correct them and hold them to that standard in order to avoid future failures and develop a more confident, competent leader for our soldiers to follow in the future."