The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) Charlie Class brought the year to a close, personifying the true meaning of its class motto: Honor, Serve, and Persevere. In doing so, class members credited a retiring member of the GSDF and other cadre for seeing them through to graduation day — the capstone of a journey that began in April and unexpectedly continued for the better half of a year. The Initial Entry Training (IET) class faced many unforeseen obstacles which extended the class beyond its planned duration. However, instead of driving the team apart, the challenges they faced pulled Charlie Class closer together.
With encouragement from former Commandant of the Military Entrance Processing Station, Sgt. 1st Class Michelle Campbell, and other GSDF cadre, Charlie Class persevered. As time went on, new recruits joined the class, and Charlie Class was back on track.
“They’re all troopers,” Staff Sgt. Raymond Slocumb, a Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) cadre, said of Charlie Class members on graduation day. “They hung in there until the end.”
For Slocumb, the graduation was particularly meaningful. He had planned to retire. After working in TRADOC for the past seven years, this graduation class would be his last. “We hate to see him go,” Charlie Class Leader Pfc. Jack Nieves said of Staff Sgt. Slocumb. “The sergeant made it worthwhile (for us) to come back.”
On Sunday, December 3, 2017, class members marched in formation and recited the Soldier’s Creed. GSDF cadre and family members were on hand to congratulate them. “They’re an amazing group,” Pfc. Nieves said of Charlie Class members. “They demonstrated a willingness to serve, to follow orders, to look out for each other.”
And, to persevere.