In the military, they say the cadre are the best of the best. I remember when I was in the Navy I was asked to be boot camp company commander, and I was told that only the best individuals are selected to do such an important job.
I view the position of a cadre as a position of great responsibility. Even if you’re just the cadre of a weapons range, it is still a crucial position.
Responsibilities of a Cadre
You’re supposed to be an expert on certain subject matters, and you’re supposed to know your job better than the soldiers you’re teaching. For example, I remember the cadre at an MOB station were subject-matter experts on the tasks they were teaching.
You have to look at it this way: if you’re teaching somebody something, especially a deployed soldier, what you teach them could actually save their life.
Years after I graduated Navy EOD school I saw one of my instructors and I took the time to thank him for what he did because his instruction helped me in real-life EOD situations while I was deployed overseas.
It’s for these reasons that a cadre is expected to be the best of the best.
One of the Most Important Jobs
The position of a cadre, in my mind, is probably the second hardest job in the military, right behind a recruiter.
There is so much responsibility laid upon a cadre and very little appreciation from their chain of command. Higher-ups especially might not notice the work a cadre does. This happens because they usually only work from 0800 to 1600 while the cadre’s day starts much earlier and ends much later.
For instance, a boot camp or AIT cadre works longer hours than most in the military and they have a higher level of responsibility than the commanders they report to. They’re there to teach and make sure that an infantryman knows how to do their job before deciding whether or not a recruit is ready to go out into real Army duty.
If they aren’t ready, it’s the cadre’s job to spend more time teaching the recruit about, for example, a 240 bravo. Because when a soldier hits the battlefield, it’s a little too late to learn about correcting a malfunctioning weapon.
Whether it be a cadre at boot camp or at a MOB station, it is indeed one of the most important jobs in the military, which is why I agree that only the “best of the best” should be selected to do this job!
My Recent Personal Experience
I’ve been here at Walter Reed since 2016, so I’ve seen the change of command a couple times, as well as a few of the cadre, and I must say that I’m disappointed.
The cadre at the Wounded Warrior Brigade don’t really care about the soldiers. For them, it’s just a job rather than a responsibility.
For example, they don’t seem to care if a soldier wants to rejoin their unit or if even just stay in the military. They would just as soon go to a medical review board and get the soldier medically discharged, and that’s wrong. They should be trying to retain as many capable wounded soldiers as possible to return to their Army jobs.
Cadres Should Help Soldiers Succeed
As a cadre of the famed Ranger school, I cared about the soldiers who volunteered for such a difficult school. I took that into account, and I was only an E5 when I was there. I truly cared that a soldier volunteered, and I gave them every opportunity to succeed.
I mean, isn’t that the job of cadre?
They’re supposed to teach and pass on their knowledge and experience. In Ranger school, this included deciding whether or not a soldier could be successful as a Ranger.
Refocus on Hiring the Best for Cadre Positions
For those of us at Walter Reed, we did not ask to be sent here, but the cadre did. They took the job knowingly, and they were sent to schools to do so.
The trend I’ve seen where the cadre doesn’t seem to care about the soldiers is becoming a big problem across the entire Army. Over the past few years, it seems like this position is being filled by any able-bodied individual. The Army doesn’t seem to care if the person can actually do the job or if they’re truly qualified to do so.
It is time that the position of cadre is taken seriously again. Whether it be a boot camp cadre or one at the Wounded Warrior Brigade, the cadre position needs to go back to what it was supposed to be: the best of the best!