It's the People

1BAT Commander Nick Salas walks a cadet candidate through his first room inspection.

Most of the “unknowns” had been identified, put into context and worked through by the time 1st Battalion’s command arrived on campus on August 22 to get ready for the arrival of their Cadet Candidate’s. Some, like Training and Retention Officer and Worcester native Felicity Janczewski had come to campus earlier that week to watch, listen and learn as 2nd Battalion’s Assimilation Week progressed. “Knowing there would (still) be many unknowns this week for us, it was important for me to get a sense of what to expect firsthand,” she said.

And though one might think that the first ones in always have the toughest road, 1BAT had its own challenges to overcome last week. Though the logistics had been tested and the adjustments made, going from three to four companies and adding all of the out of state/region cadet candidates, many of whom needed extra protocols and who would remain on campus to wait for classes to begin, 2 BAT’s Commanding Officer Erik “Nick” Salas and his staff were juggling a lot more of everything, more layers of things to get done, more bodies to look after, more places to get them safely in and out of during a crunched schedule.

“Everyone has a plan right up until that time they get punched in the mouth,” he mused last Friday evening as they prepared to send some of their charges home the following day, “so we knew we had to lessen any impacts based on the bigger numbers and what we’d learned from 2BAT’s experience, and we did that by staying in constant touch with them over the week on things that came up and how we could avoid some of it.”

Keeping energy and focus up, from the top down, would keep both cadre and cadet candidate spirits buoyed, and it worked. Battalion Executive Officer Liam McAleer saw the relationships as a key to assuring that when this group finished their week that they would have a lot of reasons to return in the absence of the usual highlights. 1CO Company Commander Dylan White, from Marlborough, MA put it best. “If things do shut down in a month, we want these kids to remember the people…not the push-ups.”

And with classes starting and things beginning in earnest, both Battalion leaderships and the Regimental staff will be depending on one another more than ever. "This is not an end at all, but a beginning," says Regimental Commander Dominic Vaccari. "We got through the last three weeks in pretty good order, but we have a long way to go in an environment we still don't really know a lot about...but we've made a pretty good start."