On Thursday, Feb. 12, representatives from the senior military colleges, service academies, and junior military colleges will arrive for the Annual Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Leadership Conference.

Participating institutions this year include The Citadel, North Georgia College, Texas A&M University, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership, and Marion Military Institute.

The two-day conference begins with a keynote address from Brig. Gen. (Ret.) David L. Grange, United States Army on Thursday afternoon. Grange was the former commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry division and currently serves as president and chief executive officer of the McCormick Tribune Foundation. During his military career he served in many positions to include commanding positions in both the Army Rangers in Vietnam and Delta Force during the invasion of Grenada. Later in his career he moved on to be the Deputy Commander of the Army Special Operations Command.

The conference will continue in the Squires Student Center all day Friday through Saturday morning with a variety of leadership laboratories and discussion focus groups. The theme for this year’s conference is “Overcoming Leadership Challenges.”

The conference will focus on specific topics related to professional development and how individuals can prepare themselves to overcome challenges they may face as leaders. Attendees will also have an opportunity to participate in plenary sessions designed to expand their thinking about personal development. Faculty representatives will participate in several discussions pertaining to curriculum, administration, and policy.

Friday evening a formal retreat will be held on the Upper Quad by the entire Regiment, which will involve the Regimental Band, The Highty-Tighties, performing the Star Spangled Banner, and the Skipper, the Regimental cannon, which is also used at the football games when the Hokies score touchdowns, being fired as the flag on Upper Quad is lowered at 5 p.m. Following the formation the entire Regiment will go to Shultz Hall for a Regimental dinner.

Saturday evening wraps up the conference with a banquet for all senior cadets and all conference participants from other schools. The banquet is to honor the senior cadets and all of the hard work that they have done throughout the time that they have been in the corps.

Cadets and their dates will be served dinner and be given the opportunity to interact with cadets from the other schools that are participating. At the banquet they will also be given the opportunity to hear from the guest speaker, Coach Bobby Ross. Before Ross went on to lead a distinguished career as a football coach he served in the U.S. Army as an officer. Ross has served in various coaching positions for The Citadel, Georgia Tech, University of Maryland, and The U.S. Military Academy. Ross also served as head coach for the NFL San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions. While coaching for the San Diego Chargers he led them to their first trip to the Super Bowl.

After the Senior Banquet, the Military Ball will conclude the weekend’s events on Feb. 14 in the Squires Commonwealth Ball Room. Members of the Regiment and the visiting cadets will attend the ball. The purpose of the ball is again to recognize the seniors as they prepare to either enter the civilian work force or commission to become officers in the United States military. At the beginning of the military ball seniors are presented to the Regiment by walking through a Saber Arch and announced along with their dates. A movie and slide show is shown to highlight the senior cadets and the various activities and accomplishments that they have had during their career in the corps.

Following the ball at midnight, the Skipper will be fired on the Drillfield and members of the Regimental Band, The Highty-Tighties, will play Silver Taps. Taps is played on a bugle or trumpet at flag ceremonies and funerals. Silver taps varies from the normal due to the fact that two people play it and is played at the end of the night and will be in remembrance of those that have lost their lives either at Virginia Tech or in the line of duty for the nation. The first bugler will play and the second bugler will echo certain parts of the song.

Written by Cadet Daniel Brubaker.