By Sgt. 1st Class Anne Burnley
BLACKSTONE, Va. -- Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, Chief of Engineers and Commander of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, observed cadets from the Virginia Military Institute Army ROTC program training at the Virginia Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center, Fort Pickett, Blackstone, Virginia. During his six hour visit on Sunday, April 8, 2006, Strock walked quietly between groups of VMI cadets who had completed the Situation Training Exercise lanes, The Leadership Reaction Course, and the rappel, all a part of their ninth annual Spring Field Training Exercise.
Considered a “critical recruiting and retention event where Army cadets undergo exciting, hands-on training that few ROTC programs can provide,” the FTX also is designed to help cadets decide “to pursue commissions in the Active Army, the Army Reserves, or the Army National Guard”.
Strock expressed both appreciation and admiration for each cadet’s call to duty, and selfless service in the U.S. Army. He graciously thanked the young men and women for their commitment to the military during a time of war. Strock acknowledged the courage, resolve, and personal sacrifice of all soldiers serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Sharing brief anecdotes about his personal experiences, Strock encouraged cadets to become listeners and observers. He advised cadets to work with, and listen to noncommissioned officers. Strock also advised cadets to communicate with, and rely on their families for support.
Strock asked cadets to be mission-oriented, to set goals, and maintain high expectations. Raised in an Army family, Strock has distinguished himself during a 34-year Army career. After enlisting, Strock received his commission as a second lieutenant in 1972 when he graduated from Officer Candidate School. He completed training with both Ranger and Special Forces and served with infantry units before transferring to the Engineer Branch in 1983. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University. Strock is a Registered Professional Engineer.
Strock embraces the Engineer’s motto….Essayons – “Let US try”. Ascending the rappel tower, Strock met with cadets waiting for their first rappel. After watching cadets descend, and attentively following Rappel Master Capt. Terri L. Dorn’s instructions, Strock donned a Kevlar and gloves, tied his harness, snapped on a carabineer, and called, “On rappel”. As he leaned over the platform edge and began his descent, both VMI cadets and instructors saw their ”Three Star” VMI Alumni willing to lead by example while leading the way.