ROTC cadet prepares for leadership role

When you're up against trouble, meet it squarely face to face...You may fail, but fall still fighting; don't give up, whate'er you do; eyes front, head high to the finish, see it through!

For the son of a Bridport couple, the excerpts from a popular Edgar Guest poem focusing on handling adversity took on a very personal meaning. U.S. Army ROTC Cadet Miley Massed, son of Alfred and Sue Massed of Bridport, Vt., spent more than a month testing his limits physically, mentally and emotionally during the Army ROTC Advanced Leadership Camp. He is a 2004 graduate of Middlebury Union High School.

Massed was one of more than 5,000 ROTC cadets from throughout the nation who attended the leadership course on the road to becoming a second lieutenant. Cadets were forced to use a combination of wits, common sense, intelligence and basic instinct to overcome a series of challenges.

"I am cycling through classes and exercises that are furthering my leadership skills and challenging me both physically and mentally. Some of the classes include everything from the ground assault course, to playing a role in platoon leadership as a squad leader," said Massed.

The road to the coveted gold bar was much more than simply passing a written test. Much of their time was spent in the field learning land navigation, traversing obstacles courses, responding to chemical attacks and learning basic marksmanship. The cadets were put in a variety of leadership positions and situations that simulated combat experience. There was even a challenging water course where cadets were required to swim 15 meters with their equipment, climb a 17-foot ladder and, while blindfolded, step off of a three-meter platform while holding their M-16 rifle.

"So far the hardest challenge I've faced is keeping awake. We are constantly on the go and find ourselves busy from 4:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.," said Massed.

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