Class of 2013 recognized, on to next leadership development step
The Citadel Class of 2013 completed its knob year on Saturday, embarking on the next phase of their development as principled leaders in the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.
The Citadel has a tough and challenging eight-month-long Fourth Class System for freshmen. Its purpose is to lay the foundation early in a cadet’s career for the development of character and discipline implied in the college’s mission - achieving excellence in the education of principled leaders.
“Recognition Day does not signify an end of cadet development,” said Commandant of Cadets Col. Leo Mercado. “It is a transition point in The Citadel’s leadership development program as Fourth Class cadets assume their roles as leaders and mentors for the Class of 2014.”
The day began early with physical training and classroom instruction on standards and roles , basic skills, ceremonies and leadership in the Fourth Class System.
The Gauntlet is the most physically challenging part of the day. The event brings full circle the first-year experience that began in August 2009. The Gauntlet is a rigorous team-building event consisting of a series of timed tasks that cadets must complete. These include the tire flip, wheelbarrow walk, log physical training, group pushups and situps, the firefighter carry and the human tunnel. The circuit station is two minutes of pushups, squats, crunches and flutter kicks.
"The events associated with Recognition Day reinforce the concept of teamwork and overcoming adversity through physical challenges and the tenacity to succeed in the face of hardship,” Mercado said. “With the leadership and mentoring of their cadet leaders and Tactical Officers, the Class of 2013 was instilled with the values of integrity, respect and accountability, which are essential to their continued development as principled leaders.”
Recognition Day includes the symbolic march to Marion Square, site of the original Citadel (now a hotel). It is a reminder to the cadets of those who came before them, about the history they are now a part of and the expectation that they will become principled leaders. At Marion Square the freshmen renew their cadet oath, and the day culminates with a class dinner.
“Recognition Day is an important milestone for the Fourth Class and their cadre for their efforts over the last eight months and for all that they have accomplished this year,” said Cadet Col. Zach Holliday, the regimental commander. “But it is also intended to be a day that the entire Corps of Cadets take pride in.”
As the freshmen cadets move on from Recognition Day their focus turn to final exams, which begin April 28 followed by commencement for the Class of 2010 on May 8. When the freshmen return as sophomores in the fall, they will have before them the opportunity to take on new responsibilities as leaders in the platoons, companies and the Corps.