Unit Manning Reports mean job anxiety

Every year members of the Norwich University Corps of Cadets get nervous waiting for decisions on what assignments they will get next year in the corps. This was especially true after it was announced the decisions would be a week later than the announced deadline just before spring break.

Annabell Davis was one of those waiting to see what would happen.

“I didn’t know if I was going getting the job I wanted,” said Davis, 19, a sophomore mathematics major from Rocky Top, Tenn., “and the wait made me nervous.”

“It was all worthwhile when the UMR came out,” she said. “Lt. Col. Edwards walked over with Aiden Cruz and said ‘Mr. Cruz, do you know Ms. Davis and Cruz said, ‘yes sir’ and finally, Lt. Col. Edwards said ‘Well you’re looking at your First Sergeant.”

The UMR (Unit Manning Report) for the school year 2019-2020 was released on Monday, March 18, telling many cadets what their job in the corps would be for the upcoming year. Everyone who wants a job in the corps must apply and then cadets are ranked in an order of merit list. The commandant staff looks at the cadet’s GPA, PT score, extracurricular activities and a plethora of other factors and accomplishments.

One of the major parts of being ranked is going before a “promotion board” which consists of an assistant commandant, a company mentor, and an upperclassmen cadet. The promotion board is used to help the commandant staff decide who deserves a job.

Many cadets believe that the way rankings are made needs revision. Cadet Miao Yuan, 19, a sophomore construction management major from Anchorage, Alaska, believes that peer reviews should be given more weight. “I wish we had more peer reviews so that the commandant staff will have multiple reviews to go off of instead of just one,” she said.

“I think the cadet input really needs to be there and those 4-1 recommendations (an evaluation form) are extremely important,” said Anthony Trigillio, 21, a junior computer security information assurance from Agawam, Mass., “because who interacts with the cadets every day? Their fellow cadets.”

But some cadets disagree with Trigillio, because it may affect their job selection if they have people who don’t like them. “If it’s more peer-based, if people have a vendetta out for you and the commandant staff looks to them for recommendations, they can trap you in a box where you won’t be able to get the jobs you want over a disagreement,” said Davis.

Aiden Cruz, 20, a junior computer security information assurance major from San Antonio, Texas, is conflicted on utilizing peer reviews. “I can see the pros and cons of the peer reviews.”

“A pro is that if you are well-known you know you can get the job, but a con is if you are a hard worker but not socially well-known, you might have problems getting the job,” Cruz said.

The process can be tough for those not selected, like Devin Thompson, 20, a sophomore physics major from Virginia Beach, Va., who applied for jobs and felt like they were more than capable, but they remain jobless. “It was disheartening, and it made me question a lot, but I’m not going to give up because I’m asking those who don’t want their job as cadre if they want to switch.”

“People got their third choice of jobs even though their first choice had no one slotted,” said Thompson, who wanted to be platoon sergeant to head up training in a rook platoon – something he has been preparing for since his rook year. “I’ve been training myself physically and studying to keep my grades up.”

Like Thompson, Yuan applied for three jobs dealing with rooks but instead received the job of color sergeant, which is a job she didn’t even apply for.

Although some cadets are frustrated at the system, a lot of them received their first choices. “I got the first sergeant for the drill company and I wanted the first sergeant job because I wanted to shadow the drill company commander,” said Davis.

Shawnae Evans,19, a sophomore neuroscience major from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., put command sergeant major – the third most important job in a battalion – as her top choice and she got it. She also has huge plans for provisional battalion next year. For example, she wants to ensure that provisional battalion becomes more inclusive.

A lot of cadets believe their jobs, and experiences from their past years in the corps, have prepared them for their upcoming jobs. “My roles being drill training corporal, and now training non-commissioned officer in command, has helped develop my leadership abilities,” said Cruz. “Now all the hard work I’ve done is now paying off.”

But others like Yuan have been shadowing cadres through this year, and yet they received jobs that have nothing to do with rooks. “I’ve spent this entire year shadowing the cadre staff and when I saw I had color sergeant, I felt as if it was a waste of my time.”

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