Cyclone ROTC Battalion is nation's third highest in cadet average ranking

AMES, Iowa --Thanks to high scores in everything from academic grades and leadership development to marksmanship and land navigation, the Cyclone ROTC Battalion at Iowa State University is ranked among the nation's elite.

The battalion and individual cadets have earned the following honors based on cadet grades, physical fitness evaluations and performance at the Leadership Development and Assessment Course.

  • The battalion is No. 3 in cadet average ranking out of 273 battalions in the United States.
  • Five ISU senior cadets are ranked in the top four percent of 4100 senior cadets in the U.S.
  • One senior cadet was first in his regiment of 380 cadets in the Leadership Development Assessment Course.

The battalion, which includes 85 student cadets from Iowa State, Drake University and Grand View College, ranked third after Notre Dame and the University of Michigan.

"It is quite an achievement for these cadets," said Lt. Col. Lawrence Braue, professor and chair of military science. "They take their jobs and leadership development very seriously. They understand the importance of leadership - not just in the Army, but in life as a whole."

The five ISU seniors in the top four percent in the U.S. and their national rankings are:

  • Ranked 38 -- Lanea Sudweeks, Watertown, S.D., majoring in animal science
  • Ranked 58 -- James Johnson, Nevada, majoring in management information systems
  • Ranked 71 -- Mark Sudweeks, Glenwood, majoring in earth science
  • Ranked 130 -- Matt Slykhuis, Cedar Falls, majoring in mechanical engineering
  • Ranked 150 -- Mark Conway, Cedar Falls, majoring in mechanical engineering

The 33-day Leadership Development Assessment Course, held at Fort Lewis, Wash., is designed to develop and evaluate the cadets in between their junior and senior years, said 2nd Lt. Kami Irlmeier, Gold Bar Recruiter.

Also known as Warrior Forge, the course is considered the most important training event for an Army ROTC cadet or National Guard officer candidate. It incorporates a range of subjects designed to develop and evaluate leadership ability.

"The course challenges them mentally and physically and tests common sense, intelligence and stamina," Irlmeier said. "They're put into leadership positions and get an awareness of combat situations. Then they are evaluated."

The cadets are also evaluated on physical fitness, weapons training, communication, and other military skills such as combat water survival training and land navigation courses.

ISU cadets earned the highest performance evaluation averages in all categories in the Leadership Development Assessment Course:

  • 286 out of 300 in physical fitness testing
  • 86 out of 100 in land navigation testing
  • 68 percent received ratings of excellent in leadership position evaluations
  • 37 percent earned the prestigious recondo badge for overall excellence
  • 47 percent ranked in the top five percent overall

One ISU cadet, Matt Slykhuis, finished first in his LDAC regiment of 380 cadets. He earned perfect scores in three categories-physical fitness, land navigation and all leadership evaluations.

"That's a huge accomplishment," Irlmeier said.

As part of his recognition, Slykhuis received an Army officer saber (curved ceremonial sword), a plaque, medal and an Army commendation.

"These cadets deserve their high rankings-they are really, really good," Braue said. "They are capable of responsibilities way above their ages. I'd take any one of them to work with me anywhere."