On the Eve of Matriculation Day, the atmosphere suddenly calms after the final preparations have been made for life altering events of the next day. A storm had been brewing on campus for over a week as the cadre and support staffs returned to make ready for the new cadet recruits. The barracks resounded with a cacophony of organized chaos as the hurricane that is Matriculation Day was meticulously scripted down to the last crash and thundering boom of cadence. Soon rain will cover the quads in the form of sweat and tears, and the storm will finally break.
“The Corps has been working very hard to prepare ourselves and each other so that we may train and develop the future of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets that arrives on Matriculation Day.” -Cadet Colonel Sarah Zorn, Regimental Commander
Cadet Bryson Butts, Hotel Company Cadre Platoon Sergeant leads a Drill and Ceremony practice.
“I’m a big believer that proper preparation makes perfect performance. This is my second time being on cadre, and what I’ve seen this year and last year is that there is a lot of training and practice that goes on, conducted by both the faculty, Jenkins Hall, retired military staff, and also within the Corps of Cadets. We spend a lot of time training each other, and practicing with each other. I have two corporals of my own, who I inspect, train, and give feedback. So, expectations and skills are feed down to me, and then I give those back down to my corporals, and that’s happening throughout the Regiment.” -Cadet Sergeant Josef Monteiro, Golf Company Cadre 2nd Squad Leader
The cadre prepare the barracks to an inspection order, setting only the highest standards to which they and their cadet recruits will be held. With the ban of plastic bins taking effect this year, cadets are forced to practically utilize their half-press drawers which previously were not used on a daily basis in favor of keeping them in inspection order. Cadets will now only be allowed one small bag to keep extra belongings in, making keeping everything organized a lot more difficult. The cadre and support staffs have been under the microscope of Jenkins Hall as they serve as an example to the rest of the Corps on how to execute these newest policies.
The cadets selected for cadre are expected to be the most professional and disciplined in the Corps, and they must pay attention to even the smallest details. Their shoes shine like black glass, and their brass clearly reflects the checkered quads and ivory towers.
(Pictured below) Regimental Band smacks hard at work, or hardly working?
While the preparation activities swirled around campus like dark ominous clouds, matriculants and their parents began to batten down the hatches for the rough weather ahead. The cadet store and barber shop were flooded with matriculants trying desperately to get ahead of the approaching storm front. They avoided eye contact with the serious faces of the cadets around them, and whispered in fear that they might be in the presence of their dreaded Squad Sergeant. Different Citadel organizations hosted evening welcome banquets, to include on-campus religious groups, the Honor’s Program, and the African American Alumni Association. The eager-to-please cadet recruits shared their preparation strategies, again hoping to reassure themselves that they are ready. One matriculant ran every other day, while another had been working out at the gym with a Citadel grad, and spent time connecting with other co-matriculants. Parents and children alike prayed, hard. Many parents found support and useful information on the “Citadel Class of 2022 Parents” Facebook page to try and prepare their sons and daughters. However, every class that has come before knows, that no matter how prepared one may be, the stormy gray waves of cadre will still rock you.
“This was only possible as a whole through the hard work of individuals.” -Cadet Command Sergeant Major Elijah Melendez, Regimental CSM
-Rhaei Brown PB’20