ROTC Cadets Excel in Operation Warrior Forge
Cadet Carl Springfels from Florida Southern College receives the Lt. Gen. Sinclair L. Melner Award for excellence from Warrior Forge commander Col. Charles Evans during graduation ceremonies on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Al Zdarsky.
Cadet John Wahman, seen here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord during the Leader Development and Assessment Course in July. Credit: U.S. Army photo by John Wayne Liston.
Sean Taylor and Kimberly Adams (saluting)
LAKELAND, Fla. (Sept. 1, 2011) – Cadets from Florida Southern College’s ROTC program successfully completed a rigorous U.S. Army training and evaluation program this summer, and three achieved outstanding results.
Eleven FSC cadets participated in the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), also known as Operation Warrior Forge, an intense 29-day training and evaluation exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington.
Cadet Carl Springfels, a senior from Lakeland, ranked first in his platoon and second in his regiment of 469 cadets and was presented the Lt. Gen. Sinclair L. Melner Award in recognition of his exceptional performance at a graduation ceremony July 15. Cadet John Wahman, a senior from Westminster, Maryland, and Cadet Sean Taylor, a senior from Lakeland, also ranked in the top five of their platoons.
In order to have successfully completed the course, cadets had to earn 60 points in each phase of the Army Physical Fitness Test (push-ups, sit-ups and a timed two-mile run), receive a 70 percent score in both day and night land navigation tests and satisfactory scores on Leadership Development and Army Values criteria.
Springfels and Wahman received special RECONDO badges for achieving standards above and beyond the minimum training measurements. They scored at least 270 points on the physical fitness test, 80 percent on the land navigation tests and received satisfactory ratings on a tactical situation exercise, an obstacle course and a first aid course.
Operation Warrior Forge is often a cadet’s first exposure to life on an active Army installation and one of the few opportunities where cadets and officer candidates from around the country undergo a common training experience. It is designed to build confidence through tough and demanding training.
Cadets must successfully complete the course, usually before their senior year, in order to be commissioned as Army officers. More than 6,900 cadets from 1,100 colleges participated in Warrior Forge this summer.
Springfels had one advantage going into the course. He served as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army for three years prior to entering Florida Southern, including one year of duty in Afghanistan in 2009 where he was assigned to the 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a transportation and logistics unit. He said that experience prepared him for the tempo and the stress of Warrior Forge.
“I had a little more mental confidence. … The toughest part was the field environment, when you’re cold and don’t have a lot of time to eat. That’s never a walk in the park, but the more prepared you are, you deal with it,” he said.
Wahman, who is the Cadet Battalion Commander at FSC, said he was confident in his physical skills and his knowledge of field operations. He said the challenging part of the course was knowing he was being watched and evaluated, especially in leadership situations.
“What I did know, I applied. What I didn’t, I asked questions, took notes, and learned,” he said.
Wahman has an unusual pastime. After he arrived in Florida, friends got him interested in hunting and wrestling alligators. He says his eventual aim is to become a game warden, but he’d also like to own a gator farm in South Florida.
Lt. Col. Matthew F. Ignatovig, professor of military science and commanding officer of FSC’s ROTC battalion, said the LDAC camp is the “Super Bowl” for cadets. Their performance determines whether cadets will get their choice of active duty assignments upon being commissioned.
Springfels, a business administration major, said after graduation next spring and commissioning as a second lieutenant, he will be assigned to the Army’s Transportation Corps. Wahman, who is studying criminology, will become an infantry officer and said he likely will be assigned to a unit in Afghanistan.
FSC Cadet Kimberly Adams, who had just graduated from FSC in April, completed the LDAC course and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army at a graduation ceremony in July. Adams was unable to take the course last summer due to an injury.
Other FSC cadets who completed the course were: Lindsey Dorman, Cory Haynes, Joshua Ludwig, Reed McKean, Alexander McKee, Samantha Steffen and Shane Wolfe.
McKean and Haynes attended follow-up training after LDAC. McKean went to Ft. Bliss, Texas, and Haynes went to Ft. Stewart, Georgia. There they shadowed an active duty second lieutenant to gain leadership experience.