All the Way: Cadets living as Paratroopers

By CPT Homar M. Marval, APMS Army ROTC 

During the first week of February, The Citadel Army ROTC program took a field trip to Fort Bragg (North Carolina), the home of the 82nd Airborne Division and the United States Army Special Forces Command. In this occasion, freshman and sophomore cadets interacted with experts and leaders from civil affairs operations, special Forces and airborne operations. Additionally, they got to live the life of a paratrooper for a day by jumping from the airborne tower, practicing marksmanship with different weapons systems, and performing unique task as paratroopers and future Soldiers. 


Becoming an adaptive leader relies of understanding of yourself, critical thinking and deeds. The core leaders competencies in the “Be, Know and Do” are fostered when cadets embrace learning, responsibility, unwelcome realities, different organizational settings, authority, take a prudent risk, accept mistakes as opportunities to learn, and help others to learn to cope with constant change. Fostering adaptive leadership is the essence of our organization and the mission of the AROTC.

Shaping Leadership is the process of bringing a new and generally unwelcome reality to an individual, organization or setting, and helping them successfully adapt to it.-Rony Heifet

After a motivating speech from Maj. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, the 1st Special Forces Commanding General, the cadets toured the Airborne & Special Operations Museum. This museum is the place to honor and preserve the legendary feats of the airborne and special operations troops who have contributed so much to defending our nation’s interests. From the early days of the Parachute Test Platoon to the ongoing War on Terrorism, the Airborne & Special Operations Museum recounts the actions of heroic soldiers.


To become adaptive and holistic leaders, cadets had the chance to identify major opportunities in different professions, practice abilities and competencies as a member of the Palmetto Battalion Team in order to develop a vision and strategy for themselves (Kotter,1996). The AROTC field training exercise provides concrete experiences to build adaptive capacity, allowing cadets to learn skills to respond quickly and intelligently to constant change, and identifying and seizing opportunities (USACC, 2008).

Additionally, The Palmetto Battalion Cadets also had the opportunity to interact with leaders and actual active Army personnel doing their jobs, taking away a different understanding of their jobs and duties, opening their mind to new experiences, creating a sense of direction, and to expose the cadet to a different organizational setting. During range operations at Range 44, the cadets received a preliminary marksmanship instruction (PMI) for the M240 Machine Gun, M2 Machine Gun, and the 302 Grenade launcher. This opportunity fostered teamwork, professional behavior, and increase morale within the cadets.

Go Bulldogs!


  • Airborne & Special Operations Museum foundation (2017). About the Museum. Retrieved from
  • Unites States Army Special Operations Command (2017). About the Retrieved from
  • United States Cadet Command (2008). Foundations of Leadership:MSLII. New York, NY: Pearson.

CPT Homar M. Marval is an Assistant Professor of Military Science (APMS) at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina; his educational experience includes a BSc. In Mechanical Engineering from Universidad Metropolitana, and a Master Degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University, Saint Louis.

He is currently attending a Master in Higher Education from University of Louisville, and technical degree in Project Management from the Citadel. He has plans to complete his doctoral focusing on leadership, organizational, and human resources development

#thecitadel #AROTC #adaptiveleadership #leadership #cadets #militaryscience #concreteexperience #highereducation #army


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