On the evening of Saturday, June 9, six cadets from Destrehan High School AFJROTC were packing and thinking about what a week at the South Carolina Cadet Officer Leadership School (COLS) was going to be like. COLS is held at the beginning of June every year at The Citadel in South Carolina.There, cadets learn how to be excellent leaders and followers, and gain new friendships while having fun.
Noon on Monday cadets from all over the United States gathered together in one auditorium to hear about the adventurous week ahead. After meeting the instructors and supervising colonels, cadets met their fights – 20-25 cadets – and flight cadres. The cadets would eat, sleep, learn, drill, and “play” with these people for the next six days.
Tuesday began a regular day: a 5 a.m. stretch and workout, followed by a mile run, breakfast, uniform inspection, academics, lunch, drill, more academics, dinner; and everyone’s favorite, volleyball.
Each day cadets had uniform inspection to insure they were clean and tidy, because sloppiness is not accepted at COLS.
In academics, cadets learn how to be a good leader (i.e. solving conflicts, drug and alcohol awareness, uniform wear, and facts about the US Air Force).
In preparation for the school, cadets were advised to memorize and practice the drill sequence, so they wouldn’t be behind when it came time to practice for drill.
On Friday, cadets were to be tested on how well they could march around a flight.
Finally, at the end of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, there would be a volleyball tournament. This is where everyone would pull out their cheering voice, and their volleyball skills. On Thursday, the championship game was played.
Saturday cadets demonstrate what they learned and receive recognition for their achievements.
People might call it a parade, but the proper term for what the cadets did on the last day is a Pass and Review.
This is where the flights would present themselves to the spectators and a high ranking officer. This is also when the awards are given out and the Honor Flight is named.
The Honor Flight is an award that the flights strive for from the very beginning. This year Delta Flight soared above the rest. It just so happens that Cadet Kyle Kiefer was in that flight. Everyone wanted to know what the secret was, and it was simple, we were friends, but better yet, we were a family.
We always inspired everyone in our flight to perform at their highest level.
Mid-day Saturday, Destrehan cadets left the Citadel with mixed feelings – an elation to be graduates and on their way home but sadness in leaving new friends and memories.
The South Carolina Cadet Officer Leadership School, definitely defines the saying “Work hard and have fun.” All of us, all over the United States agree with that.