Major General visits cadets in Campbell’s ROTC program

BUIES CREEK – Senior cadets in Campbell University’s ROTC program presented their training and accomplishments in a briefing before one of the U.S. Army’s highest ranking officials on Feb. 16.

Maj. Gen. James M. McDonald visited Buies Creek while in North Carolina to attend a ceremony, and he stopped by the ROTC building to meet with approximately a dozen Campbell cadets in the program. Cadet John Myers was among the group of students who briefed the McDonald, who in 2010 was in command of United States Army cadet Command after serving as a deputy commander in Iraq.

“Campbell University has a really proud tradition of exceeding standard in (ROTC training),” Myers said during his presentation on the program’s land navigation training. “One of the advantages we have here is our proximity to Fort Bragg, and we use it to the best of our abilities. Compared to larger schools, it’s a big advantage for us.”

McDonald commended the cadets and their training module, suggesting if they train hard, they’ll add value immediately upon commissioning. He also offered some sage advice on their physical fitness tests, which all soldiers are required to take at least twice a year.

“You can pass ROTC and get commissioned by scoring 180 points,” he said, “but let me tell you … you have not set yourself up for success. By the time you’ve entered your fourth year, you should score a 290.”

He said there’s a big difference between being among the first two or three to finish a run and being one of the final soldiers to cross the finish line.

“You finish first or second, then you’re standing there cheering your platoon on – that’s a lieutenant who’s set up for success,” McDonald said. “But paint this picture – you settle for a 180, you squeak out enough push-ups and sit-ups to pass; and then it’s you finishing last with your entire platoon cheering you on. ‘C’mon sir…. you can make it … hurry up.’ That lieutenant is letting his or her people down. If you’re not up to 290, get after it.”

McDonald’s list of accomplishments and titles is long. He was commissioned in the Field Artillery in 1980 as a distinguished graduate through the Army ROTC at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

His commands include 3rd Battalion 321st Field Artillery and the 82d Airborne Division Artillery, involving operations in Iraqi Freedom. In 2009, he returned to Iraq as the Deputy Commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, and later as the Operations Director, J3, United States Forces Iraq. In 2010, he assumed command of United States Army Cadet Command.

McDonald’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, 4 Legions of Merit, 2 Bronze Star Medals, Combat Action Badge and U.S. Master Parachutist badge as well as parachutist badges from Italy, Canada and Germany.