Tuesday morning dawned
cool and drafty as we attended a parade for LDAC graduation and a
commissioning ceremony during the early morning hours; we host numerous
parades each year on the campus of Georgia Military College, and several
commissioning ceremonies, but many of our fellow travelers were unfamiliar
with the traditions included in a military parade.
The pomp and
circumstance of the ceremony was a fitting ending of the training phase for
many cadets in attendance; for those are not familiar with the programs of
the United States Army I want to share this amazing statistic, 6,609
Army Cadets reported to LDAC 2011, so far, the graduation rate is about 96
The scenarios we
observed in certain field locations were educational and enjoyable; almost
as entertaining as the preparation and consumption of our second meals ready
to eat. Imagine a package that is capable, with the addition of a few drops
of water, of heating an entrée, and then transforming into a pouch to serve
the meal. We then proceeded to an event that most of the attendees viewed
as the most exciting element of the tour, the water confidence course or as
we remember it, the Slide for Life.
The air-temperature had
cooled considerably by arrival time, but numerous members of our group
braved the chill and pronounced they had a breathtaking moment sliding from
the soaring structure tower into the frigid water below. All around the
river area were cadets who were rowing boats and jumping from other
structures into the water, but they paused to observe the elder adventurers
and cheered with us as they voluntarily participated in the event.
Too soon it was time to
load up the buses and return to our hotel for the closing segment event;
presented as a buffet meal called "Northwest Bounty" with tables laden with
such entrees as Grilled King Salmon Filets, Mustard crusted pork loin and
sliced Roast Sirloin of beef.
Our first encounter
with MG McDonald was as the speaker at the morning parade; the second
occasion was as the personable keynote speaker at the evening banquet.
After experiencing first hand, the training that cadets receive at Warrior
Forge, it was an honor to listen to and be introduced personally to Major
General James M. McDonald, the Commanding General of U.S. Army Cadet
In the closing segment
I will share further thoughts about our experience but I can report that
everyone in attendance gained significant respect for the United States Army
training program; their traditions and training are truly incredible.