FORT KNOX, Kentucky (January 12, 2015) -- Cadet Andrew Shriver, a political science major at Austin Peay State University, accepted an Army ROTC mission during the school's winter break, a time traditionally reserved for celebrating the holidays.

He spent the last days of 2014 and the first days of 2015 as a Cadet Marshall at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio. Part of the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the combine is held every year in San Antonio, and hosts the top 500 junior football players from high schools throughout the nation. These students are tested in various events, such as the 40-yard dash, the short shuttle and the vertical jump, and then they are placed on teams to play football.

Shriver's mission, along with other Cadet Marshalls, was to assist a group of players in moving from combine events, tabulating their scores, and ensuring that they all got the same amount of repetitions during one-on-ones.

He drew on experience gained in ROTC, such as his leadership roles in class, labs, and field training exercises. "I've learned how to be in charge and place yourself where you are in the best position to lead," Shriver said. "The only challenge was maintaining accountability as players moved around. I simply led the group by introducing myself and telling them to look for and follow me through the event, and I was vocal when I needed to be.

"I also learned that there will be many young soldiers like those players who will also need assistance in their daily lives from finances to family issues, and I will need to be prepared to assist them," he added.

A four-year ROTC scholarship recipient, Shriver plans to join the infantry when he commissions at graduation in May 2015. He's already got some real-life leadership experience gained as a platoon leader in a chemical unit with the 2nd Infantry Division stationed in South Korea. He spent a month with the unit as part of Army ROTC's Cadet Troop Leader Training. CTLT lets Cadets serve in lieutenant-level leadership positions in active-duty units. This program is exclusively designed for 3rd year Cadets before and after completion of the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).

Shriver comes from an Army family -- his mom, Natalie; and his dad, Charles, both served in the Army. Natalie Shriver retired as an Army nurse with 31 years of service, and Charles Shriver, who originally enlisted in the Army, became a warrant officer and retired as such.

He said that one of the biggest lessons he's learned from moving around the Army with his parents and his time in ROTC is to be flexible. "You need to be adaptive, and know that whatever happens or changes, that you've got a broad base of knowledge that you can draw on."