FORT KNOX, Ky. — “I’m really impressed by the quality of the Cadets, they are incredibly committed, focused, really, really smart and really, really motivated,” Secretary of the Army, Honorable Christine Wormuth said. “Mostly what I’m seeing is just the very high quality of people who are coming into our ROTC programs.”
Wormuth visited Cadets of 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, on July 21 as they prepared to enter the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear, or CBRN, Confidence Chamber at Cadet Summer Training.
“It was an awesome experience to have the first female Secretary of the Army come speak with us, and then to be able to ask her a question, it was a huge honor,” Cadet Chelsea Guillermo, from Bowie State University, said.
Wormuth interacted with Cadets and established an open forum for the group to speak their mind and ask her questions.
“To be able to ask questions to someone that is at the top of the Army food chain, that literally has direct influence on what happens in the Army policies and regulations ... it’s invaluable,” Guillermo said.
Guillermo presented Wormuth with a question regarding the childcare crisis across Army families worldwide, a topic that resonates close to home for the prior-enlisted mom of three.
“It’s the constant struggle of being an active-duty mother in a family, so my husband has to stay at home right now, because we can't afford childcare in my area for all of the children,” Guillermo said.
For Guillermo, the opportunity to interact with Wormuth provided a glimpse into a hopeful and pioneering Army future.
"She was that working mother, she understands that struggle, and having a woman in the Secretary of the Army position is really bringing a lot of positive and influential changes to females in our Army, and I personally appreciate her being here and speaking to us,” Guillermo said.
In addition to Guillermo, Cadet Matthew Sjerven, from University of Wisconsin-Stout, discussed the impact of meeting Wormuth at such a critical phase of Cadet Summer Training.
“Seeing someone come up who is a very high-ranking public official, it kind of brought me back to the outside world a little bit,” Sjerven said. “It definitely gave me a sense of like renewed purpose.”
Sjerven further explained that Wormuth boosted morale and served as a reminder of the value in the future they are working toward as they face challenges such as the CBRN Chamber.
“There is something that I am training to do ... being part of an organization that has enormous amounts of responsibility and agency in the world we live in,” Sjerven said.
Wormuth later visited the Field Leader Reaction Course where she spoke to Cadets of 1st Regiment, Basic Camp.
It was there that Cadet Arisa Devine, from Jacksonville State University, was awarded a challenge coin by Wormuth.
“I was not expecting that. It was an honor, and just looking over it, I know that I will keep it in a safe place,” Devine said.
Although Devine was initially nervous, she was overcome with admiration as Wormuth spoke to the Cadets.
“It was an honor to get to meet her and have her talk to us, and I would love to just, you know, ask her a million questions,” Devine said.
With the attention of so many Cadets like Devine, Wormuth took the opportunity to advise the future leaders, emphasizing the importance of having confidence while remaining humble.
“Have humility, you know, you can always be striving and improving yourselves,” Wormuth said. “You should always feel like you have something to learn.”
About Army ROTC
Army ROTC is one of the best leadership courses in the country and is part of your college curriculum. Through classes and field training, Army ROTC provides you with the tools to become an Army Officer without interfering with your other classes. ROTC also provides you with discipline and money for tuition while enhancing your college experience.
Army ROTC offers pathways to becoming an Army Officer for high school students, current active-duty Soldiers, and for current National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers through the Simultaneous Membership Program.
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