FORT KNOX — The future leaders of ROTC are expected to live all Army values. Recently, the values of personal courage, duty and selfless service were tested by Cadets and Cadre members as they were activated to take part in hurricane relief efforts.

More than 200 Cadets in the Simultaneous Membership Program and ROTC Cadre from various programs were activated to support relief efforts for both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Missions ranged from search and rescue operations, evacuating numerous families, to providing humanitarian aid to the families forced into shelters by damaging winds and flood waters.

University of West Florida Cadet Isaac Kimbrell activated with the 53rd Brigade Support Battalion, of Chipley, which distributed supplies to those hit by the hurricane.

“It was very humbling, but also very educational. I was both amazed and disappointed by what people can do when they're desperate,” he said. “The way that people worked together despite language, culture, or race barriers was amazing.”

“I learned a lot about expectations versus reality. I also learned a lot about the differences between soldiers. These lessons will forever remain with me,” Kimbrell said. “I was there with the enlisted soldiers throughout this whole process, and I will remember what we needed, what was too much, and what was effective. It was very enlightening to see leadership from the point of view of a subordinate.”           

Cadet Michael Elder, from the University of West Florida, activated with the 870th Engineer Company (SAPPER) from Crestview.

He assisted with relief efforts in Tallahassee, by working with the Red Cross to help manage multiple shelters for people affected by the storm. His unit also helped in route clearance operations in Tallahassee.

“It made me feel good to be a part of such an effort because it is nice to be out there helping people in need,” he said. “I feel my experience with the storm relief efforts will help better me as a leader in the future because I received some great experience with helping people in the field.”