The young kid on the block
The ages of Leadership Development Assessment Course cadets varies. Some are traditional juniors in college, 20- and 21-years-old, and others are prior service, enlisted or in the National Guard. There are even some close-to-30-year-olds roaming around. Few cadets are still in their teen years.
Except Christopher Carroll. The sophomore at Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama turned 18 last summer, making him the youngest cadet in his platoon of the Alpha Company 5th Regiment.
Carroll graduated from high school May 2013. Last summer, he attended the Leader Training Course at Fort Knox. After graduating from LDAC July 15, he’ll finish school and graduate on May 10.
“My school’s two two-year programs instead of four,” he said. “So I get all the [three years of] training that they go through in like a year.”
Although Carroll has only been in ROTC a short time, he feels as if his school adequately prepared him for LDAC.
“My school over prepares you,” he said. “Like instead of doing like a simple five page [operation] order, something like that, we get 13 page op orders. And we learn like in depth details and stuff like that. So coming here it was like no problem for me.”
Carroll’s squad mates think highly of the young Cadet and appreciate how energetic he is.
“It shows him that um that he has to grow up faster than most people because he’s actually around people that’s actually like 23,” Cadet Taisean Andrews of Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas said of Carroll. “And people that’s older like 27 and 30 years old.”
Cadet Sameer Hasnoo of Mississippi State University in Oktibbeha County didn’t expect the younger Cadet to be on par with the rest of the platoon.
“Surprisingly to all of us he’s actually to our speed,” Hasnoo said. “Some of these guys went Guard and stuff and I’ve been in here since my freshman year of college, I never went through the Guard or anything, and the fact that he’s caught up to us, and he’s 18. I just turned 21. Either I’m doing something wrong or he’s doing something right.”
But for as much maturity Carroll demonstrates, he also has his typical teenage moments.
“I mean but he has like certain moments where it’s like he’s still 18,” Andrews said. “He’ll say something that like only a freshman will say and we be like, ‘Dude, you’re a freshman. Freshman, just quit talking.’ When we had a competition earlier, and everybody yell out something like, ‘Get some,’ and we yell out like a motto or something, and instead of him yellin’ out something like that, he just made the most awkward sound ever it was like aahhaahhh. And we was like, ‘What? Freshman, shut up.’”
Generally, though, the squad looks out for their youngest member.
“For us, we see him as a little brother,” Andrews said. “Ya know, take care of, give him a check every now and then.”
Carroll and his squad mates usually ignore his age difference.
“Don’t let the age say that you can’t do anything that anybody else can do,” Hasnoo said.
“If you put your mind to anything, you can achieve it,” Carroll said.