Leading by example, ROTC cadet earns prestigious honor

Northeastern senior Patrick Lupfer commanded 45 fellow ROTC cadets over a 10-day stretch this summer as a platoon sergeant at the U.S. Army Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Lupfer said guiding the cadets through training exercises at LDAC — a four-week summer course designed to evaluate and train Army ROTC cadets in between their junior and senior years of college — gave him a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate his leadership skills.

In his role he completed challenging tasks, learned how to use motivational techniques and developed an understanding of how to lead a diverse group of cadets from across the country.

“When you’re put in a leadership position like that, you have to understand where all your cadets are coming from. You have to create a positive environment, motivate your cadets and lead in a manner to get your mission accomplished,” Lupfer said. “I think I did that successfully.”

Lupfer’s outstanding performance at LDAC also earned him a prestigious honor. He was recently ranked No. 1 out of 5,579 senior ROTC cadets on the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s National Order of Merit List. The list is determined by several criteria, including grade point average; strong athletic performance in the Army Physical Fitness Test; and college athletic participation and performance during college ROTC training and at the Leader Development and Assessment Course.

“It’s a great honor, and it’s very humbling,” Lupfer said. “I’ve worked very hard in school and ROTC to accomplish a lot and perform at a high level. But I also share this with all my peers because ROTC is a group effort, and we’re always training together and learning from each other. I see this as much as a Liberty Battalion accomplishment as my own.”

At Northeastern, Lupfer runs the ROTC training exercises and instructs younger cadets as the cadet battalion commander of Liberty Battalion. The battalion comprises more than 100 cadets from several area colleges, including Northeastern, Boston College, Wentworth Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Four other Liberty Battalion ROTC cadets finished in the top 500 on the Order of Merit List, placing them in the top 10 percent nationally: Jared Joyce (37), Darren Berrigan (282), Kevin Wong (390) and Martin Bye (438).

Throughout his ROTC career, Lupfer has consistently sought out opportunities that have challenged him and built upon his training experience. He attended the highly competitive U.S. Army’s Airborne School in Georgia and Air Assault School in Kentucky in the summers following his freshman and sophomore years.

Through these training-focused programs, he learned post-ROTC tactical skills, such as parachuting into enemy territory and executing helicopter missions.

Last weekend, he and several other Liberty Battalion cadets participated in the Ranger Challenge competition in New Jersey, where battalions within their regional brigades competed against one another in a series of training exercises including weapons proficiency, land navigation and leadership training.

“These types of experiences have given me an extra leg up and helped me succeed,” Lupfer said.

His success as a student is equally as impressive as his success as a cadet. The civil engineering major is a member of Northeastern’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and has completed a co-op and an internship with Preload Inc., a N.Y.-based company that designs and constructs concrete water-storage tanks.

For his capstone project this past spring, Lupfer and his classmates created a plan to redesign Quincy Shore Drive in Quincy, Mass. The goal of the plan was to turn the four-lane roadway into a two-lane roadway in order to accommodate bike lanes, wider sidewalks and more green space.

“We wanted to encourage more means of transportation,” said Lupfer, whose group worked closely with city officials and presented them with their redesign.

After graduating in December, Lupfer hopes to join the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Earlier this summer, he interned at the Corps of Engineers in Alaska, where he supervised job sites and performed field inspections of civil-engineering work.

“I think this would allow me to utilize my degree and present a variety of opportunities for me in my career,” he said.