Cadet Amanda C. Bryan recently graduated from ROTC National Advanced Leadership Camp at Fort Lewis, Washington in her continuing quest to become an Army officer.
FORT LEWIS, Wash. - While millions of college students patrolled air-conditioned offices on America's job search circuit, the daughter of an Evans couple grabbed a machine gun, headed into the woods and put her leadership skills on display in hopes of earning a chances to wear the gold bar of an Army lieutenant.
Cadet Amanda C. Bryan, the daughter of George M. and Sara Bryan, Ashwood Drive, Evans, graduated from the Army's National Advanced Leadership Camp in August.
The camp is no job fair. It involves 32 back-to-back days without using cell phones or wearing civilian clothing. Cadets don't cram battle orders into laptop computers or Palm Pilots . When the future Schwarzkopfs and Powells draw up leadership plans here, they do it in the mud. Then, they lead high-speed combat missions while firing off tough decisions in great bursts.
"This camp was quite an experience. They tested us on all aspects of being a leader - they put each of us in charge at different times and evaluated how we motivated and led people under stressful conditions," said Bryan, a student at Colorado State University.
The camp staff assesses the leadership skills of 4,700 cadets every summer. Each cadet leads as many as 120 people into battles for veteran soldiers to see. The cadets undergo three weeks of mental and physical testsbefore going into the woods for two weeks of work and observation. When they make it outof the woods, they can come back to the barracks, clean their gear and fly back to school with true stories of earning job security and status as future officers in the Army.
"The 32 days at camp taught me a lot about my role in the Army, and the importance of it. I have been able to asses my abilities and now I know what I do well, and what I need to improve on to become a great leader," Bryan said.
The army of cadets roll into camp wanting to work with tanks and helicopters - things the 270 ROTC detachments nationwide don't have on hand as study aids. But the weaponry here is a backdrop to lessons in leadership and ethics that the Army hopes will stay with them for life. Every cadet has a story for their future.
"As I work through my last year in school and move toward commissioning, I see myself establishing a leadership style that will allow me to work efficiently in a unit," said Bryan. "When I get my commission, the path ahead of me will be one with many turns, detours and alternate routes. I hope that I will remain to the correct path for having a successful career in the Army for however long it lasts."
With the Army summer camp experience behind them, Bryan and her fellow cadets will never forget the ultimate job search of their lives - and they will be one step closer to earning that gold bar of an Army lieutenant.
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