Cadet Spotlight: Evan Richards
by DeJanay Booth
Last call on APFT
Three in the morning came around too fast. It felt like a dream, but it wasn’t. Getting out of bed, Cadet Evan Richards put on his shoes and headed out the door. Richards and his battle buddy, Luke Reid, hopped in the van and went to the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) site.
Richards, who is attending Leader Developtment and Assesment Course (LDAC) after graduating from college, was the last LDAC cadet to take the test for Cadet Summer Training—his last milestone before being eligible to be an officer in the Army
On his way to the site, Richards, a graduate from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, couldn’t stop thinking about a few important aspects in his life.
“Just thinking about my fiancée, my baby and how hard I’ve worked up to this point to be able to commission as an officer, not wanting to lose it over a 15-minute run.” he said.
When he arrived Richards was given a blue vest and sat on the turf as he watched the demonstrators giving him the overview of the test.
“Do you have any questions?” First Sgt. Albert Rhodes asked.
“No, drill sergeant,” Richards replied.
“All right, on your feet.”
Richards stood up and turned toward the pit, facing a drill sergeant who was assigned to track the first part of the test: the pushup.
“No pressure, Richards,” Master Sgt. Rust said.
On Rhodes’ order, Richards began doing push-ups. After two minutes, he finished and then took a 10-minute intermission before doing the sit ups. Seven cadre members and six drill sergeants surrounded a small corner of the site, observing his performance.
“Thirty seconds. Next cadet, turn around and face the pit,” Rhodes ordered.
Rhodes said although Richards was the only cadet taking the test, it was not going to change how the test was conducted. Twenty minutes passed and Richards was preparing for the 2-mile run. Reid, the battle buddy, had came along to run with Richards as a form of support and motivation for the upcoming officer.
“He is my teammate and we look out for our teammates,” Reid said. “I think I was more nervous than he was. I wanted him to pass.”
At the sound of the horn, Richards and Reid took off down the track. Completing four half-mile laps within 16 minutes was the last thing Richards needed to do. On the last lap, he pushed his body harder to finish it.
“Come on. You’ve got this,” Reid shouted.
Richards moved faster as he reared the finish line. He crossed the line in time and passed the APFT, his final step to becoming an Army officer.
“It’s kind of interesting to be the very last cadet in LDAC to take the PT test,” Richards said. “[Everybody] was out here. There wasn’t no change whether it was me or 500 cadets.”
Richards and three other cadets will commission as second lieutenants on Aug. 10. He hopes to join the National Guard and become an engineer.