Cadet Battalion Commander: Cadet Joey Henrikson

Command Philosophy

The Green Mountain Battalion has a unique tradition of pinning every Cadet with the same rank regardless of academic class, BN position, or any other differentiating category. For that reason, we are truly a cohort of peers, each of us being able to grow as leaders together, without the boundaries of an arbitrary rank system. As your peer, I have three requests for us as a BN to strive for:

  • Appreciate the responsibility of officership
  • Take ownership
  • Pursue Excellence

As commissioned Army officers, we will be charged with the responsibility to lead and provide for soldiers. Regardless of what component, branch, or specialty field we commission into, we will all be tasked with making decisions that impact soldiers’ lives. Our positions will inherently demand that we act selflessly every day. Every training event, PT session, and experience we will have in ROTC is a chance to better ourselves so that we might be more prepared to take on the responsibility of leading and providing for soldiers. Right now, in ROTC, our fellow cadets are our soldiers. As peers, we need to look out for each other, and as leaders we need to lead. We cannot afford to wait to become the leaders we want to be. We start right here, right now.

To be in a position to lead soldiers is a tremendous privilege, and as future commissioned officers, we must not take that privilege for granted. Building a cohesive and functional team is paramount to mission success. At the end of the day, it will be the little things that matter most and make the greatest impact. As Cadets, we have a great deal of maneuver space that, if taken advantage of, allows us to organize opportunities for each other, create relationships, and build that cohesive team. Something as seemingly insignificant as a squad dinner can be the beginning of a strong foundation. The more time we work together outside our predetermined obligations, the more proficient we will be when it really matters.

It says it on the patch, Leadership and Excellence. It will be critical to our performance as officers, but we cannot misunderstand it as being an end state. We are not, can not, and should not be an expert in everything. Excellence is found through the consistent application of hard work. When all is said and done, many of us will not need to know how to set in a proper SBF line, or to conduct a raid IOT lead accomplished careers. But there is a reason we learn it, teach it, and practice it. The reason is that it provides us with the opportunity to lead. If we can control our element, delegate tasks, communicate under pressure, be decisive, and above all else, be leaders, then we can certainly apply it to a convoy, a trauma center, a TOC, or wherever else the Army might send us. Pursuing excellence in ROTC is not memorizing the Ranger handbook, it is demonstrating a dedication towards aspiring to become a strong leader.

Along the way, each one of us will make mistakes, and that is okay. Junior leaders are expected to make mistakes because that is the only way that we can truly learn. But our time here is short. In no way can four years prepare us for the momentous responsibility of leading soldiers, but it can provide us a foundation to build on. We owe it, not to ourselves, but to the soldiers we will be leading to get onboard, buy in, and put in the work. Opportunities, big and small, will be presented to us every day, and we have an obligation to make every possible use of them. The more work we put in now, the better poised we will be to take on our future challenges. We are all capable of becoming great officers, each and every one of us. All the tools are at our disposal, but it is on us to make the decision to take up the torch with a firm grip.