While many are born to follow, only few are destined to lead. This is true for three Mercyhurst University seniors set to walk the commencement stage this May not just as Laker alumni, but as Distinguished Military Graduates who will be commissioned as active duty officers in the U.S. Army.
As ROTC cadets throughout their tenure at Mercyhurst, Lindsey Botswick, Adam King and Matt Terringo earned their distinguished honor due in part to their highly rated performance during the summer 2012 Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), which placed them in the top 25 percentile of the national Army ROTC ranking system. All three are intelligence studies majors.
For King — who followed his brother into the Army — ranking in the top 25 percentile of his ROTC national class has validated his decision to pursue a military career.
“At LDAC, I incorporated what I learned over the past three years,” said King. “It gave me more confidence. My brother is currently an officer, so when I graduate, I will join him. I'm really looking forward to it.”
The LDAC is an annual 28-day summer assessment course held in Fort Lewis, Wash., for ROTC cadets after their third collegiate year. A cadet's military education, physical abilities and leadership skills are put to the test through squad exercises, endurance tests, garrison operations analysis and written examination. This past summer, approximately 5,500 cadets nationwide competed.
“Before attending LDAC, I was hesitant about graduating anytime soon,” said Bostwick. After joining ROTC at the end of her freshman year — partly inspired by her grandfather, a military veteran — Bostwick soon found the purpose she sought in her life.
“After attending LDAC, I got a sense of what the real Army was like," she said. "Now, I couldn't be more excited. I would have never had these opportunities without the Army; I went to Africa, I have jumped out of planes, and I traveled to Hawaii. If you do well and work hard, they send you places.”
For some, pursuing a military career is decided early on. In Terringo's case, he knew he wanted to join the military since the sixth grade.
“I have always had a deep sense of pride for my country and for service,” he said. “Before LDAC, I didn't know how I stacked up against every cadet in the nation, or even my own school. After performing the way that I did, it was a sense of accomplishment.”
Placing in the top 25 percentile has allowed Bostwick, King and Terringo to land their first choice of branch in the Army, including military intelligence, field artillery and aviation, respectively. Upon graduation, the cadets will transition into their chosen branches as officers, applying the leadership skills cultivated at Mercyhurst and through ROTC.
Additional cadets from Mercyhurst who participated in LDAC include: Alyssa Ciehanoski, Dillon Lynch and Cameron Kunkel. The local battalion, which includes ROTC students from Gannon University and Penn State Behrend, totals nearly 90 cadets.