‘Pale Riders’ share knowledge with cadets during leader training
First Lt. Andrew Branch, right, standing, watches over his Soldiers and ROTC cadet Christopher Muse, second from right, as they conduct training at the 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt.’s aid station Aug. 2 at Fort Riley. Muse participated in the Cadet Troop Leader Training program for four weeks at Fort Riley and shadowed Branch, who is the medical services platoon leader. CTLT provides ROTC cadets from across the country an opportunity to experience leadership in units during a three- to four-week period. Photo by: Staff Sgt. Donald Martin, 1ST HBCT.
Story by: Staff Sgt. Donald Martin
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The "Pale Riders" assisted in training tomorrow's leaders during summer Cadet Troop Leader Training at Fort Riley.
CTLT provides ROTC cadets from across the country an opportunity to experience leadership in units during a three- to four-week period.
Cadets serve in lieutenant-level leadership positions in active-duty units. Platoon leader positions have a three- to four-week duration, depending on the hosting unit and location.
One of the cadets who will leave Fort Riley with more experience as a leader is ROTC cadet Christopher Muse, from Virginia State University. He shadowed 1st Lt. Andrew Branch, medical services platoon leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
During the last four weeks, Branch taught Muse the fundamentals to be a successful platoon leader in today's Army.
"His strong suit is that he is never OK with just the status quo," Branch said of Muse. "He's always looking at ways that he can take things that he has learned here and apply them his senior year.
"That's always a tell-tale sign, I think, of someone that is driven. He doesn't just care about what he is getting out of this experience, but what he can do for the people that are beneath him and beside him. All of that is foreshadowing how he will be as an officer, and I think he'll be very successful."
Branch, who participated in the CTLT program in 2007, said it was different on the other side of the table.
"It wasn't always pleasant to give up my troops to him, but it was really promising to see him in action." Branch said. "I feel like if I had gone down at all while he was here, he would've been able to step up and do just fine."
Muse spent his time doing everything Branch would do. He did physical training, supervised his troops during training, sat in on staff meetings and participated in all other unit functions.
Both agreed cadets should embrace the training and more could participate in the program.
"As a cadet, you spend four years being taught by other cadets or instructors that are majors, and you train to be a platoon leader, Branch said, "but you have no experience doing that from someone who is currently doing it.
"When they are here, they get the opportunity to enjoy the experience of what it's like to be with the Soldiers firsthand."
More cadets should get the opportunity to participate in CTLT because it teaches them about their relationship with the enlisted side, Muse said, adding everything he learned at Fort Riley will help pay off in the future.
"I think I've grown and become accustomed to my leadership abilities," Muse said. "I take from all walks, whether it (is) from the first sergeant, platoon sergeant, platoon leaders or the squad leaders … and being able to see that on a first-hand basis and how it works has really helped me a lot."
Muse is set to return to Virginia State University for his senior year and said he hopes to be commissioned into military intelligence after he graduates.