The 140 upper-class cadets who make up the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets training cadre are hard at work practicing what they’re about to preach.

On Saturday, about 475 first-year cadets will arrive on campus to begin their week-long introduction to the corps’ military lifestyle. During New Cadet Week training, the new cadets will learn the basics, such as how to wear a uniform and to march in formation, as well as larger life skills of teamwork and grit.

This week, the trainers are getting ready for them, putting in long days of military drill themselves and learning how to teach it, one small piece at a time, said cadet William Edinger, a senior in Air Force ROTC majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Edinger is the executive officer for Alpha Company, one of 14 units within the corps. His primary job at the moment is to plan and oversee the training for his company’s first-year cadets. That plan starts with the upper-class cadets, who practice their lesson plans on each other.

“Everyone knows the basics, but it's a whole different game when it comes to teaching in a clear and concise format,” Edinger said. “The biggest part of that is the feedback we give to each other. Everyone has their own style of teaching, but we ensure that everyone hears, sees, and gets a chance to physically practice everything that we teach.”

As much as they’re preparing to train others, the upper-class cadets are learning a lot about themselves.

“During New Cadet Week, I am hoping to better understand my leadership style and its effect on others,” said cadet Julian Montes Martinez, a junior in Air Force ROTC majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. “I am looking forward about learning about how to be a leader that cares about their people, but also is able to hold others accountable.”

Montes Martinez is the first sergeant for Mike Company, and his job this week is to manage the cadet trainers in his company and coordinating with the company’s leadership to ensure that training is being done correctly. 

That experience will be important for Montes Martinez after graduation, when he commissions as an Air Force officer charged with managing people in his unit. His goal is work with a special tactics or combat rescue team.

New Cadet Week training will begin at 6:45 a.m. daily and will continue into the evening throughout campus, particularly on the Drillfield and Upper Quad areas.

The week will culminate with a parade at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 on the Drillfield, where the first-year cadets will demonstrate the military drill they learned in training. During the parade, the Highty-Tighties, the regimental band, will play and Skipper, the Corps of Cadets cannon, will be fired.

Share this story