Monday, February 22, 2010

Citadel cadets show their stuff

A cadet at The Citadel has no shortage of standards to live by. Embracing the honor code is foremost.

There’s also what I call the 3Ds: Duty, discipline and drill.

Lots of drill.

By the time a Knob (first year-student) survives the first year at the military school in Charleston, S.C., he or she can march in formation with best of them. Cadets often drill two times a week before the familiar public parade on Friday afternoons.

The 18 companies, each comprised of between 54 and 60 cadets, perform complex and technical drills. It’s tough, exacting work.

So you may have to excuse cadets who were able to relax a little at last weekend’s Civil War Battle of Aiken re-enactment. The formations were smaller and simpler.

“It’s a little more old school,” said cadet Ryan Mosely of Villa Rica, Ga.

Most of the 14 cadets who camped at the re-enactment fired artillery pieces during the two public events. A few joined infantry units.

Lean and muscled, the cadets were a contrast to many of the 400 older weekend warriors. The cadets pulled the pair of 6 pounder-Napoleons by their own power.

“This is very much a leadership exercise for them,” said Capt. William Sharbrough, who during the week teaches business administration classes. His duties include team building.

Manning an artillery piece is all about teamwork. The well-trained cadets performed an 1860 federal artillery drill at the Battle of Aiken. Their uniforms were of that period.

Mosely and cadet Kent Gonzales of Weddington, N.C., are sophomores in the Army ROTC program. About 30 percent of Citadel graduates join the military.

Each of them told me they love the structure and camaraderie The Citadel provides.

Citadel cadets guarded James Island during the Civil War and saw action, including at Williamston, S.C., and the Battle of Tullifinny in December 1864.

No comments:

Post a Comment