CLDT concludes with Buckner ceremony
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
WEST POINT, N.Y. (June 18, 2014) — Cadet Leader Development Training ended Monday for more than 900 cadets in the Class of 2015 and Class of 2016.
During a post-CLDT huddle, Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Richard Clarke asked how many cadets had looked forward to this training. A few hands shot up.
Then he asked how many had learned something valuable from the experience. That got a more favorable response, and Clarke figured as much. He was recently reminded about the lasting impact CLDT has on cadets during a recent trip to Fort Benning, Georgia. There, he met with second lieutenants from the USMA Class of 2013 who had just graduated from the infantry basic officer leadership course.
“These were infantry officers; they had just gotten their blue cords that day,” Clarke said. “I talked to them, and what will always stick in my mind, is what they told me about CLDT. They said they were pushed harder here, got better leadership and mentorship here than anywhere else.”
Clarke said he was proud of what was accomplished during CLDT and how cadets were better off for having pushed themselves and each other through the training.
The cold nights and humid days, the bugs, the rain and all the discomfort inherent in field operations is part of the experience, Clarke said.
“Nothing’s better for testing your mettle, testing what you’re all about and everybody walked out of it OK,” Clarke said. “It shows that you are more capable than what you had thought, that you can push yourself to the limit and then continue to push yourself.”
This effort, Clarke reminded them, will be expected of them every day after they leave West Point and their Soldiers will demand it from their junior officers.
Lt. Col. John Cross, the CLDT commanding officer, congratulated the group for having completed the training and advised them to stay safe during summer leave.
“What you achieved through the training was top notch … the best that has ever been done, and you stepped up to the challenge,” Cross said. “With that, congratulations and job well done.”
The ceremony provided a venue to extend special thanks to the CLDT Task Force Moreno and those cadets who worked around-the-clock operations at Camp Buckner; and to Task Force China, the officers and non-commissioned officers from 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. The Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, support cadets throughout Cadet Summer Training and served as lane walkers, coaches and mentors during the 19-day CLDT program.
“What you saw out of that task force was the epitome of military professionalism,” Cross said. “That is what each and every one of you should aspire to become. That is the standard that you, as future platoon leaders, need to hold yourselves to.”
Class of 2015 Cadet Dominick Gennaro accepts the Commandant’s Platoon award on behalf of Company C’s 4th Platoon, from Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Richard Clarke June 16 at Camp Buckner Parade Field.
Commandant of Cadets Brig Gen. Richard Clarke presented awards to the top cadet from each company during the closing ceremony for Cadet Leader Development Training at Camp Buckner June 16.
Awards were presented to the top cadet in each company:
Co. A: Cadet Scott Filbert; Co. B: Scott Marriner; Co. C: Cadet Virginia Phillips; Co. D: Cadet Keith Brittan; Co. E: Cadet Bayle Boggs; and Co. F: Cadet Ian Williams.
Cadet Bratton Benfield, from Co. C, earned the award as the top company commander in the regiment. The Commandant’s Platoon award was presented to 4th Platoon, Co. C, for best demonstrating the ability to work as a cohesive, high performing unit. This unit was cited for exemplifying the dimensions of leadership, impact, reaction to stress, determination, teamwork, values and standards.
About Cadet Leader Development Training
Cadet Leader Development Training is the capstone culminating event in the sequential and progressive military training and military science program, providing an assessment of all leader development system outcomes. These outcomes are:
* Leading under stress;
* Solving tactical problems;
* Demonstrating proficiency in individual, leader and small unit tasks.
After successfully completing CLDT, cadets will advance into the capstone professional course, MX400: Officership.
During CFT, cadets could compete for the Recondo Badge by successfully completing a series of events such as a five-mile run, a three-mile assault pack run, a land navigation course and other soldier skills.
The ceremony recognized 27 cadets for this achievement. It also officially marked the promotion to cadet corporal for the rising yearlings who completed the first iteration of Cadet Field Training and supported CLDT as its opposition force.
The Benevidez Bunch Award was presented to 3rd, Squad, 2nd Platoon, Co. G., as the top performing OPFOR squad. The award is named after Master Sgt. Roy Benevidez, a Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam War veteran from the 5th Special Forces Group.
(Editor’s Note: An additional OPFOR article has been posted on the USMA website at: http://www.usma.edu/ news/SitePages/OPFOR.aspx.
Photos from the CLDT ceremony are available at www.flickr.com/photos/west_point/sets/72157645112089025/).