Cadet Spotlight by Jason Kazee
Keep moving forward. Words such as these can get you through daily challenges, lifelong struggles, or even just around the next corner. Though these words are not found in the United States Army Code of Conduct, soldiers and civilians alike can rely on them. Cadet Battalion Commander Brennan Parker depends on them to carry him through whatever may lie ahead.
Parker recently took part in a 12-cadet relay that carried the game ball from Joker Phillips’ hands in Commonwealth Stadium and delivered it to a team from the University of Louisville’s ROTC program. The team ran 46-miles to a town located mid-way between Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky. The cadets from the University of Louisville took over from mile 46 and delivered the football to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Capped off by Brennan delivering the ball along with a University of Louisville ROTC cadet at midfield before the Cats and Cards rivalry game.
In Cadet Parker’s eyes, activities like this serve as great opportunities for “the cadets to integrate further with UK Athletics…and the student body.” Parker appreciates opportunities to “get rid of the mystery about the ROTC and the mystery about the military.” He believes increasing the public’s understanding and improving the balance between military and civilian lifestyles is an important asset for a future military officer.
Senior Cadet Parker serves as the Cadet Battalion Commander at Buell Armory on the University of Kentucky campus. With 110 cadets serving under him, Parker is learning to balance the demands of military leadership and civilian life as he helps cadets prepare for academic studies and entering the military after graduation. Performing exceptionally well means cadets can entertain their pick of posts at United States Army bases around the world. Parker is currently ranked within the top one percent of active Reserve Officers’ Training Core (ROTC) cadets and hopes to begin his career in Tactical Intelligence at Landstuhl Army Base in Landstuhl, Germany next summer.
When you speak with Parker you instantly discover he possesses a deep resolve and commitment to leadership. These personal traits are strengthened by the training and activities pursued by ROTC cadets at UK. During their time on campus, cadets can refine the skills necessary to excel in the military’s chain of command while learning the nuances of building and maintaining relationships. A primary focus of Parker's efforts is to actively bridge the gap between the lifestyles of the military and the public at large.
Another facet of Parker's professional development comes in the form of personal inspiration provided by events like the Army Ten Miler. In October, Parker and a crew of seven additional UK cadets travelled to Washington, D.C., to join 25,000 additional soldiers to participate in a ten-mile run. Beginning at the Pentagon, the route travels across the Potomac River, through the National Mall, and arrives back at the Pentagon. Parker not only enjoys the challenge of setting a personal best time, but also taking note of those around him.
>>UK Wins ROTC Ten-Miler
“It’s cool to see people run a 60-minute ten miler. But the more interesting thing about it is the wounded warriors that run. It’s something…a test when you can run ten miles nonstop. However, when you’ve got double amputees running beside you, it becomes a totally different ballgame. You realize how petty your pain is when you’re running beside somebody who doesn’t have a leg or an arm.”
Parker poses with the UK Cheerleaders before the UK/UofL game this season.
This motivational belief in personal sacrifice and leadership took shape at an early age for Parker. During high school he served as the team captain for his soccer team in Murray, Kentucky. He was the captain for three years. When asked if it was common for sophomores to become team captains at Calloway County High School, Parker reluctantly replies, “No, not at all.”
Such initiative led Parker to join the Army ROTC at UK. Once deployed, Parker will rely on the personal strength he comes by naturally. The qualities that defined his youth and a personal dedication to supporting his fellow cadets will soon find him leading Army tactical intelligence efforts aboard. As a result, our nation’s defense will be strengthened because of officers, soldiers, and cadets like Brennan Parker.