Columbus State ROTC Cadets Rated No. 1 Among 39 Schools

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University was rated No. 1 among 39 schools for the performance of 22 ROTC cadets on the Leader Development Assessment Course that’s a major stop for students en route to becoming U.S. Army commissioned officers.

LDAC tested the cadets in areas such as physical fitness, land navigation, first aid and their teamwork in traversing a “confidence course” of ropes, beams and ladders. The 28-day course, also known as Operation Warrior Forge, is considered the capstone exercise before being commissioned as second lieutenants.

In one particular area, Columbus State was ranked No. 2 in the nation among 270 schools participating in LDAC over summer 2013 in terms of ratings by their cadet peers from across the U.S. (Tennessee’ s Austin Peay University was ranked No. 1.)

“That speaks volumes about the quality of your program because of what your peers think of you,” said Lt. Col. Michael Feret, CSU’s professor of military science. “It says that, even at a small school, compared to some of the others, there are a lot of things we can offer.”

CSU cadets endured LDAC this summer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (formerly Fort Lewis), near Tacoma, Wash., competing against cadets from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico. Other Georgia schools in the Top 10 were Georgia Regents University Augusta and the University of Georgia at No. 3 and No. 5 respectively.

Feret, who joined CSU in 2011, noted there’s a “strong sense of camaraderie” among cadets in his Cougar Battalion. For instance, many Columbus State cadets participate in fitness activities beyond the three days a week that the battalion works out as a unit.

“We tell them that, if you want to excel, it’s going to require some individual effort,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about what you’re doing to prepare yourself as a leader.”

One of CSU’s cadets, Marco Presichi, tied for the top male Army Physical Fitness Test score among 901 cadets graduating from LDAC on July 28.

Columbus State's participation in the U.S. Army’s Reserve Officer Training Corps dates back to the 1970s, providing scholarships to select participants ranging from two years to four years. Top scholarships cover tuition, fees, room and board, also paying up to $500 a month for other expenses. Anyone can enroll in CSU's Army ROTC classes for freshmen and sophomores without any obligation to the join the military. All Army ROTC books, uniforms and other equipment are furnished at no cost to cadets.

For more information on CSU's ROTC program, which historically enrolls 95-145 cadets, visit http://ColumbusState.edu/rotc.

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