Since the late 1950s, Jacksonville State University has been developing young leaders into potential army officers.
With time, the program has grown thanks to the support from its alumni and local community.
Each summer, Jacksonville State University sends cadets to the Leadership Development Accessions Course (LDAC), the last hurdle that decides if he or she will commission upon graduation from the university.
During the twenty-eight day course, cadets are tested in physical fitness and land navigation, along with being evaluated on their performance during stressful situations. For the past several years, this training course has been located at Ft. Lewis, Washington.
Cadets are required to balance the normal class load of a college student along with extra courses in Military Science, daily physical training at 6:00 AM, physical fitness tests, and weekend training exercises.
Each university conducts its own field training exercise, but each semester different universities come together at the same location for a joint field training exercise- forcing cadets to integrate and work with others outside of his or her comfort zone.
The first annual Alabama joint field training exercise, Bama Bash, was held at Ft. McClellan and Pelham Range this October.
Universities all across the state brought their cadets to Ft. McClellan from the 18th to the 21st, including Auburn University, University of North Alabama, Columbus State University, and Jacksonville State University.
A total of ten universities and over two hundred cadets competed in the events of the weekend. Jacksonville State University brought twenty-two cadets.
On the first night, cadets were tested on their knowledge of land navigation with a written test. Day two started early with an Army physical fitness test, followed by two iterations of day and night land navigation lasting until the next morning.
Day three also began early as the cadets trained for squad tactics and then another night land navigation course.
An awards ceremony was held rewarding some of the top cadets from the universities. Out of over two hundred cadets, Jacksonville State University was awarded overall top female cadet, Sarah Pugh, and top male cadet, Desmond Clay.
Cadet Pugh also received the highest female award for land navigation.