Soldiers at course celebrate Army’s 238th birthday
By Crystal Allen
Leader’s Training Course
Soldiers across the Army and at the Leader’s Training Course are taking time today to celebrate the Army’s rich history of 238 years. Those in uniform join the Army for different reasons, and it plays a different role in each of their lives.
Spc. Christina Bledsoe, who helps with in-processing for LTC, has served for nearly three years. But the military has been a part of her life since she was born. Her father and grandfather are both retired service members.
“All I know is the military, military structures and how things work and so it’s always been a great building block, if anything,” she said. “It’s certainly shaped my whole family.”
The Army being around for 238 years illustrates how strong it is, Bledsoe said.
“It’s a testament to how great it is,” she said.
Unlike Bledsoe, Maj. Laytonya Carter, billeting chief for the course, doesn’t have a family history in the military. For her, the Army stands for core values and a set of rules.
“The Army is everything to me,” she said.
Carter said if a Soldier didn’t get values instilled at home, the Army can fill the void.
“You kind of feel like you are one with this environment,” she said.
First Lt. Chris Molaro, assistant planning officer for LTC, feels the same. Being a part of the Army is like being a part of team, working together for something bigger than yourself, he said.
Molaro joined the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks. He was 13 and in New York City at the time, he said. It became a defining moment in his life.
“It gives you a certain sense of pride to be in an organization like the Army,” he said.
Molaro said the Army’s birthday gives him the opportunity to look back and see the history that motivates him to serve. While reflecting on the Army’s history, Molaro is focusing on the Army’s future.
“Being here specifically at Fort Knox, we have the opportunity to train and shape and mold the future officers of this Army, so you have a particular special purpose here,” he said.
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Trandem, assistant noncommissioned officer in charge at the course, joined almost nine years ago to receive a college education. Three re-enlistments later, he said, the Army Values have become a part of his core belief system.
“I don’t know what I’d do without it, I don’t really think I would fit in elsewhere,” Trandem said.
He has high hopes for the Army’s future. He said the Army seems to be getting stronger and more close-knit by working together through tough times.
“To show that we’ve done it for 230 years and we will continue for probably 230 or more, it means a lot,” Trandem said.
Sgt. 1st Class London Mason, another noncommissioned officer in charge at the course, said the Army gives many opportunities to those who join — soldiers like Trandem, who used the Army to get an education.
Mason joined in 1990. He said the Army has and continues to play a significant role in his life.
“If you have a goal and you have the right motives, you can definitely succeed,” Mason said. “It’s a great opportunity for anybody.”