From books to bullets
Cadet Given Breckenridge, Alcorn State University, Reserve Officer Training Corps, assists with training at a machine gun range with Soldiers of the 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during three-w... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Cadet Given Breckenridge joined the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division along with 11 other Army ROTC cadets for Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT), Aug. 8, 2015.

CTLT provides cadets an opportunity to experience leadership in an Army unit over a three to four week period. Cadets are assigned a unit mentor, provided on-post lodging and meals and all CTLT positions are linked to a specific regiment of the Leaders Development Assessment Course.

"My experience at Fort Carson has been eye opening so far," said Breckenridge, who's majoring in Criminal Justice at Alcorn State University. "This is my first look at how the Active Army actually works so I'm learning a lot about what actually happens in the Army instead of just ROTC."

So far Breckenridge has trained on planning for a range, planning a field problem, motorpool stability and basic Soldiering skills with the Soldiers of the 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div.

"We're basically giving the cadet a rundown of how the Army works," said 1st Lt. David Sievers, fuel and water platoon leader, 4th BSB, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "Each day I give him to different Army personnel like a Soldier or another platoon leader so he gets a broad overview of everything that's going on within our unit."

Sgt. Lamont Bell, section sergeant, Alpha Company, 4th BSB, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div., said that he thinks the real world experience is more valuable versus just books for the cadets.

"I think it's a good program for the cadets," said Bell, a native of Baltimore. "They can work with platoon leaders and noncommissioned officers so they can see firsthand what to expect when they have a platoon of their own."

Sievers said he has a last piece of advice for all future officers.

"Take care of your Soldiers, always do the right thing and your Soldiers and chain of command will take care of you," said Sievers, a native of Brookfield, Ohio. "If you're always doing the right thing and working hard you'll have no problems."