Fort Knox, Ky., — Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West visited Cadet Summer Training July 12, stopping at the George Blair weapon qualification range, where the 8th Regiment Advanced Camp Cadets were qualifying.
West is the first black female lieutenant general and the highest-ranking woman to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy, as well as the first black surgeon general.
While at the range, West fired the same 40 rounds a Cadet would be required to shoot in order to qualify with the M4 carbine. After qualifying, West spoke to the assembled Cadets at the range for a few moments.
“Get everything you can out of this training, because you will use it throughout your Army lives, maybe not these specific skills but the leadership and development and outstanding character that you are training for,” said West. “I just want to say congratulations and also thank you for the time that you are going to spend here training. Study hard, learn hard.”
West also spoke with three Cadets who are pursuing nursing degrees.
Cadet Danny Hargrove-Jr., student at Florida A&M University, native of Tampa, Florida, was one of the Cadets that spoke with West.
“It was a very good experience. Honestly, it was the last thing I expected today, because we are qualifying at the range, and they said “Oh a general is coming to meet you guys” and I said “okay cool”, but I didn’t realize it would be General West, though,” said Hargrove. “I actually did a paper on her three years ago when I was a freshman, so it was a really cool experience meeting her.”
West shared advice and spoke with Cadets about their plans for their future careers.
“I was personally selected to meet with her because I am a nursing major, I was very excited to do that,” said Hargrove. “It’s definitely helpful to me, because as Cadet I don’t know much, I think I know a lot, but I really don’t. So to talk to someone who has been there, done that and has seen the world, it’s really helpful for me so I can know what I need to do in the future so I can have the best possible career.”
Hargrove was pleasantly surprised with how approachable West was.
“I didn’t think she was going to be as personable as she was— she was very approachable and really opened herself up to me. When you think of a General, you think of a brick wall, not someone you can really talk to and have a real conversation with. It was really a good conversation,” said Hargrove.
Speaking with other Officers and professionals during CST is just another important part of the overall leadership development that prepares our Cadets for their future as Army leaders.