• Rebecca Fawcett-Smith

Haylee Ross: Cadet Lance Corporal


Australian Army Cadets (AAC) continues to grow as an important part of the broader Army community, with almost 16,000 cadets aged 13-19 years of age now participating in the program nation-wide. In 2018, the key focus of AAC is the continued growth of Cadets as one of the nation’s leading Youth Development Programs, with increasing female participation a primary focus.

Cadet Lance Corporal (CDTLCPL) Haylee Ross of 103 ACU Burpengary unit is one of the 371 female cadets in the SQLD AAC region. Joining AAC last year with the hopes of meeting new people and making new friends, and attracted to the ideals of self-reliance and self-discipline, Haylee has positively thrived.

“The discipline motivates me, so I don’t slack off, and it helps to push me to my limits, and gives me more strength to do things that I never thought I could do,” Haylee explains. “I have found that it has shown me how to discipline myself better, which in return has allowed me to have more self-control and willpower.”

All new Army Cadets start as ‘Recruits’, and from there the general promotion pattern is: Cadet, Cadet Lance Corporal, Cadet Corporal, Cadet Sergeant, Cadet Warrant Officer Class 2, Cadet Warrant Officer Class 1, and Cadet Under Officer.

Discussing her promotion to CDTLCPL earlier this year, Haylee says, “Being promoted to Cadet Lance Corporal felt great. I didn’t expect to be promoted so soon so it was a real surprise to me. [When it happened] it felt that everything that I had achieved during the year had paid off, and it was nice that my instructors believed in me enough to give me the promotion. I hope to be promoted to Cadet Corporal by the end of this year.”

Promotion to the next higher rank is not automatic, and not every cadet will reach the higher ranks. Promotion is only given to those who demonstrate their enthusiasm to be a cadet, their ability to hold positions of higher responsibility, and their completion of any required training courses. To be promoted to Cadet Lance Corporal, Haylee had to complete the Junior Leaders Course (JLC).

“Haylee is a driven young lady,” said Major (AAC) Trevor Ruthenberg. “Her attention to detail is evident, as she turns out every week with a crisply ironed uniform, and is always prepared to hook into whatever task is placed before her. She strives hard to excel no matter what she is doing, and she tackled the Cadet leadership training with the same vigour and drive.”

For Haylee, the most challenging aspects of AAC have been the abseiling undertaken as part of obstacle courses and other adventurous activities, and the camp marching drills.

“Abseiling was a way for me to step out of my comfort zone, and to do something I had never done before,” she explains. “It made me push past my fear of heights, step over the edge, and put my trust and faith in a person below that I had never met before.”

Participating in AAC’s weekend and annual camps has been Haylee’s personal highlight, and as second-in-command of her section, she is learning invaluable leadership skills.

“When we’re on camps, I’m in charge of making sure that everyone’s hydrated, and checking that everyone’s there and that we haven’t lost anyone,” she explains.

Adds MAJ (ACC) Ruthenberg, “Haylee is always respectful and has recently stepped up into leadership positions at the unit. About half of 103 ACU’s number are young women learning to be leaders, and so Haylee has some great mentors in this regard, and is becoming a leader of the female cadets in her own right.”

While administered, sponsored and supported by the Army, AAC is not a part of the Army, and there is therefore no requirement for anyone who has been a cadet to join the Australian Defence Force unless they wish to do so. Like many cadets before her who gone on to join the Army, Navy or Air Force, Haylee has set her sights on a Defence Force career.

“I’m going to join the Australian Defence Force after I leave school and study law,” she explains.

“I think all kids should do Australian Army Cadets,” says Haylee’s mum, Leanne. “I think it’s good for self-esteem, discipline, and guidance, and it gets them out there and gives them something to do. Haylee just loves it. She hasn’t looked back.”


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