With Red Stage now 10 days in the past, it was time for some reflection on this difficult but important period of our lives. For many of the candidates, the most difficult part of Red Stage was leaving your family and your life to go to a place where it appears at first that nobody likes you as all they are doing is yelling 24/7. We have since come to realize that Red Stage is really there to break the candidates down and they build them back up into better cadets.
Once the first weekend was over, the candidates fell into a routine: Up early, learn to brush our teeth by the numbers, chow, training in the classroom, classes with the teachers, chow, physical training, classroom training, chow, letter time, more training, snack, shower, and lights out. As the week went on, the routine became easier. Along with our routine, our vocabulary had to change. Bathroom became latrine, Dining room became DFAC, and bed became rack. During the two weeks of Red Stage, our mind set, even our lives, changed so that we would be great cadets.
After two weeks, receiving that tiny, red ribbon was totally worth it, although the big plate of food helped. For many of us, it was the first time in a long time that we felt as though we had accomplished something. The feeling of completion and knowing how proud our parents are helped instill a sense of pride and meaning in the short ceremony. Where once we were drop outs in need of attention, we had survived our period as candidates and now we are cadets! Class 56 accepted the Challenge and 146 of us continue the journey towards Graduation.
By Cadets Cook, Kasmeyer, Parkinson and Selander