|THE CITADEL | PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE||
The new Zoo
Changes underway in 4th Battalion
4th Battalion commander Kyle Packard wants to shake 4BN’s reputation for unruly behavior that earned it the nickname The Zoo. So before the start of the semester, Packard asked his company commanders to develop plans to improve both the academic and military performance in their companies.
“We have great company commanders and good people around them,” Packard said. “I wanted others to take ownership of this process so that all cadets would feel they have a stake in the battalion’s success.”
The company commanders responded, laying out plans to Cadre and returning cadets. While each company commander developed his own strategy, they all addressed policies relating to the Fourth Class System, academics, military performance and accountability.
So far, the plans are building pride and showing some results.
In an effort to improve academic performance, the company commanders have adopted a common academic plan that bans instant messaging for knobs and uses room checks to ensure freshmen are studying during evening study period. There are also regular checks on sophomore rooms during ESP to help alleviate the sophomore slide that often accompanies the greater freedom.
In addition to raising expectations, the battalion leaders also look for morale-boosting activities such as a pre-game barbeque before the Benedict football game.
Even some of the notoriously independent senior privates are positive about the changes. “The Zoo is definitely becoming more professional,” said Ivan Enrique-Weitzel, a Romeo Company senior. “Kyle is on top of things and has a way of addressing problems by considering the personalities of people and not bringing down morale.”
Packard is positive about the early signs of a turnaround. “If you give others responsibility, the job of the battalion commander should be the easiest one,” Packard says. He has watched other leaders less skilled at delegating take on too much responsibility, so that others have no stake in the success or failure of a project.
“Almost every cadet values being trusted more than anything else,” Packard said. “People respond when you let them know that you are putting trust in them. It becomes their duty to live up to that trust because trust is so much a part of the honor system here.”
Excerpts from the commanders’ plans
Drill: Unless otherwise told, drill will be conducted
for the entire 45-minute period. Drill will be conducted to standard and not
time. Drill in 4th BN is no where near standard and until results prove that
there is an improvement, drill will be conducted for the entire period.
Academics are the primary reason we are here. I hold academics
as very important. ESP will be strictly enforced by rank holders. If you do
not have work to do it is fine to be walking around but do not disturb those
with work. My goal is to raise the average of the company by .2.
My goal for the company as it relates to PT is simple. I want 100 percent passing
the PT test. I will spend my time in the mornings running with those who cannot
pass until they can. We will also be spending a lot of time working on our intramural
standing. Oscar Company has the ability to dominate in athletics if we can get
the numbers we need out to play.”
My intent is for Romeo Company to become a well-rounded company while keeping
high morale and upholding the high standards of 4th battalion. This will be
accomplished through an improved accountability system, more incentives and
a stronger emphasis on drill and parade.
Some of the things you can expect from me are to be fair and unbiased in any
dealings with subordinates and peers. I will treat each new situation with an
open mind and am ready to take suggestions…Some of the things I expect
from you are motivation and pride in your squad, platoon, company, battalion
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