Story by Bob Rosenburgh/Warrior Forge public affairs
Photos by Al Zdarsky/Warrior Forge public affairs
FORT LEWIS, Wash. (TRADOC News Service, Aug. 4. 2005) – The population of Fort Lewis grew by more than 8,000 people this summer as Army ROTC cadets, Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers, and ROTC college staff members are participating in Operation Warrior Forge, also referred to as the Leader Development and Assessment Course.
Every year, Warrior Forge helps the U.S. Army Cadet Command provide more than two-thirds of the Army’s new officers, invigorates the local economy – both on post and off – and provides added training for active-duty Army and Reserve units.
More than 4,500 cadets from all 50 states and two U.S. territories – and about 380 Army National Guard officer candidates – are scheduled for the training, organized into 13 ROTC regiments and two OCS regiments.
Another 1,500 Fort Lewis Soldiers and civilians are supporting the event, which began June 1 and runs through Aug. 19. Each LDAC is 33 days, so the first set of cadets graduated July 4.
LDAC training is a series of progressive exercises and evaluation procedures that challenge each cadet individually and each platoon and regiment as a group. Designed to develop leadership, teamwork and military skills and knowledge, LDAC is based on 23 leadership dimensions developed by Cadet Command. Among them are the seven core Army Values outlined in 1998 by the Army.
Warrior Forge is the single most important training event for Army ROTC cadets or National Guard officer candidates. The operation incorporates a wide range of disciplines, such as physical fitness, weapons, security operations, first aid, communication, land navigation and combat patrolling – each designed to develop and evaluate leadership ability.
The trials are rigorous and demanding – both mentally and physically – to ensure these future Army officers are prepared to lead America’s sons and daughters.
Besides the important business of developing the next generation of Army officers, Warrior Forge also has a significant economic impact on Fort Lewis and in surrounding communities. Millions of dollars have been spent upgrading the facilities and ranges used for LDAC training, and millions more have been spent on housing, meals, cleaning and maintenance, summer-hire employment, plus laundry and travel services.
Also, LDAC enhances the training of other military organizations, offering them opportunities to train their own Soldiers in support operations and gain more training with ammunition, artillery rounds and other expendable mission components beyond their own annual unit allocations.
Fort Lewis has been the only site for LDAC since 1997. LDAC brings together cadets from all 272 college ROTC programs within Cadet Command’s national organization. LDAC is the largest annual training exercise conducted by Training and Doctrine Command.