As normal college students prepare for their final year of undergraduate study they are focused
on many things from buying books to enjoying the last summer before graduation.
That is not the case for the Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets who are on post for intense
on-the-job education in the Drill Cadet Leadership Training program.
According to the U.S. Army Cadet Command, DCLT is a four-week program providing cadets an opportunity to apply leadership skills, interact with highly skilled and experienced non-commissioned officers and drill sergeants to improve their command task skills in a real world training environment.
"This particular time of the year we are augmented with a total of six cadets from colleges in the surrounding area," said 1st Sgt. Brandon Cain, the top NCO in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion,
61st Infantry Regiment. "They are down here augmenting us and seeing how basic training
is done. They are also helping us out too."
Cadets with Alpha Company, served as platoon leaders and helped cadre show Soldiers in
Training how to navigate certain tasks such as the Omaha Beach Buddy Fire Range. The cadets
were out in the heat with the SITs encouraging them to keep moving.
They also played a part in ensuring troops were hydrated and not becoming a heat casualty.
Cadet Joseph Hyatt, from the University of Georgia, said the heat mitigation techniques
used during training at Fort Jackson will go with him throughout his career.
"I've learned every time we do any kind of strenuous training you use mandatory heat mitigation
things like the arm immersion tank," he said.
Cadet Chrystal Jemmott from the University of North Georgia said leading troops was also about looking into their well-being.
We need to "make sure they are hydrated by keeping track of their beads and making sure they are actually eating," she said. Soldiers use Ogden beads (beads on string) to keep track of their water consumption.
For her being able to learn from other's experiences was one of the main things she will take with her when she is commissioned.
"The biggest thing I've learned is to just pick their brains," Jemmott said. "They all have different experiences and all the drill sergeants have different (military occupational specialties). You
can see what their experience were in country, and out of country," and how to incorporate them into your career.
The cadets as a group, said they believe the working relationships between commissioned and non-commissioned officers is the most important lesson they can pull from their training.
"It's definitely a teamwork mentality when you are leading that platoon," Cadet Alexander Hernandez said. "You have to bounce ideas off each other and make sure you don't step on each other's feet. It's about working together."
"I think it is very useful overall," Jemmott added. "They have so much more experience than we have coming in as second and first lieutenants. They have all the experience and knowledge
and know how things run. So we need to listen to them and develop off of that."