Cadet Summer Training (CST) is often a chance for Cadets to broaden their horizons and meet new people from all walks of life. For Cadets Travaughn Gordon and Evelyn Garcia, CST was an opportunity to catch up on old times.
The pair had previously been stationed together at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in 2014 and had served together for several years before joining Army ROTC.
Gordon, who previously served as a wheeled vehicle mechanic, is now a green to gold cadet based out of Fort Hood, Texas. Garcia, a former carpentry and masonry specialist, stayed in Hawaii after leaving active duty but continued to serve in a reserve unit.
The revelation that they would end up in the same platoon at 3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp came as a shock to them both. “It’s a small Army, you never know who you’ll see again,” said Garcia.
“I looked at her and I looked away and I looked back at her like I know you from Hawaii and we both started laughing,” said Gordon.
Gordon and Garcia both have very similar reasons for wanting to become officers that are influenced by the time they spent as enlisted soldiers. Gordon joined ROTC because he believes that being an officer is the best way that he can take care of his fellow soldiers.
“Being a lower enlisted NCO, you really can’t protect your soldiers and I really just wanted to be a shield for my troops,” said Gordon. “The further I go in ranks the more leeway I have to protect my soldiers.”
Shortly after leaving active duty, Garcia began working towards her degree and joined ROTC because she missed being a full-time soldier. Rather than returning to active duty as an enlisted soldier, she believed that if she came back, she could help more people as an officer.
“I knew that I could do more as an officer… NCO was not the right way for my career path, and I do like to take care of people and officer would be the best way to do that,” said Garcia.
Although seeing each other has brought a sense of familiarity and comfort, Gordon and Garcia believe that there is value in meeting and interacting with new people. Working with Cadets with varying levels of experience has helped them grow their leadership and personal skills.
“It’s all teamwork, you have people who are prior service and then you have new people to the army… they know much more of the basics like marching and stuff that prior service have done for years back,” said Garcia. “We’re all learning from one another.”
“You’re not meeting somebody by accident, it’s by chance, the people that are in your life there’s a reason for them… use those people, build a relationship with them, communicate with them,” said Gordon. “At the end of the day the military is all about networking, so build your strong chain to network with.”