Leading 226 individuals in a garrison environment, taking a squad on reconnaissance missions, and undergoing chemical, biological and nuclear training might seem like overwhelming tasks. But not to USD student Ryan Vaught, who completed all of the above and more at the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) this summer.
Not only did Vaught complete the course, he was also awarded the Warrior Forge Commander’s Leadership Award as the top-ranked cadet among the 200-plus participants in his training company. During the 29-day course, cadets at Warrior Forge are tested on their physical stamina, endurance, ability to navigate over difficult terrain, and their team-building and leadership skills.
The University of San Diego is one of the partner schools for the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program headquartered at San Diego State University. Vaught, who will be a senior this fall majoring in economics with a minor in mathematics, was quick to credit his fellow ROTC members for their contributions to his success.
“I was blessed to have a great squad surrounding me during my time at Warrior Forge,” he said. “In addition, the cadre members here at the University of San Diego prepared me to a standard above what was expected.”
Lt. Col. John Turner, Vaught’s battalion commander in San Diego, will be presenting him with a certificate in honor of the award.
More than 6,000 college students from around the country converge at Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord outside Tacoma, Wash., each summer. Successful completion of the rigorous training is a prerequisite for becoming commissioned as a U.S. Army lieutenant.
“I am extremely honored to be recognized for the award,” said Vaught, a native of Huntsville, Ala. “But I owe a huge thank you to my parents for the way I was raised, to the cadre members of the ROTC program here in San Diego, and to people who were around me during my 29 days at Warrior Forge. Those people were the ones who made all this possible.”
— Erick Podwill ‘13