Category Archives: A Cadet’s Perspective

Middle schoolers set sail across Teardrop Lake in cardboard boat

On May 4, with plastic-wrapped paddles fashioned from lacrosse sticks, five students and history instructor LT Kevin Bissmeyer set sail across Teardrop Lake in a cardboard boat.

Cadets who braved the maiden voyage were seventh grader Robert Abbott and eighth graders Kevyn Bruce, Jordan Hornick, Isaac Gastelum and Nehemiah Simmons.

painting“The boys designed and built the boat themselves, with a little help from myself and Coach Bissmeyer,” CPT John Noel said. “We used over 600 yards of Duct Tape, three gallons of Elmer’s glue and over 150 pounds of cardboard.”

According to Noel, the project was devised to simulate the famous crossing of the Delaware River by George Washington. The attack, which was depicted in a well-known painting by Emanuel Leutze, IMG_20160428_215108_123surprised the Hessian and British forces in 1776 during the Revolutionary War.

“Named The Christmas Nightmare after the events of the Battle of Trenton, which occurred on Christmas, this cardboard beauty was constructed sporadically over a two month period by the 8th grade social studies classes of CPT Noel and myself,” Bissmeyer said.

Cadets originally intended to participate in the Float for the Food Bank race April 30 but
were unable to attend due to inclement weather.
28_best_bissmeyer_hornick_simmons_gastelum_abbottThe boat sailed for 6 minutes and 27 seconds before it was dragged ashore by “deck hand” Guido Arredondo ’20. The vessel teetered a few times during the voyage, but no passengers fell into the water.

“I didn’t know cardboard could float,” onlooker freshman Sergio Contreras said. “It was fantastic how it could actually float.”


Building the boat was hard and took time and patience — waiting for the glue to dry and cutting everything out and putting Duct Tape on. Kevyn Bruce ’20

The hardest part was when we first started, because we didn’t have an idea of what should we do. Enrique Acevedo ’20

Building the skeleton of the boat. We had to make sure it was super stable. Jordan Hornick ’20

group_hornick_simmons_gastelumi_abbott_bissmeyer_bruce_arredondoDID YOU EXPECT THE BOAT TO SINK?

I thought it would sink. Michael Naughton ’20

After I saw the boat was complete, it looked sturdy and huge so I knew the boat would float. Kevyn Bruce ’20

I expected it to float, but only for a short bit of time. Jordan Hornick ’20

Yes, because was cardboard and there were a lot of people in the boat. Enrique Acevedo ’20


8I was proud of … the boat and it was a success. Kevyn Bruce ’20

Surprised. I didn’t think we would’ve made it that far. Jordan Hornick ’20

I felt great because the boat didn’t sink and it was worth it. Enrique Acevedo ’20

For video of the boat launch, click here.


Valentine Weekend Highlights


Eight cadets and two staffers joined 160 fellow participants and took the Mexico Polar Plunge on February 13 at Plunkett Park.

“A group of cadets took on the challenge of plunging into a cold lake during freezing temperatures,” Jonathan James ’16 said.

12711282_1692471871034231_4954453163730649556_oKiwanis Lake was frozen over except for a small chunk cut out for the Plunge. The temperature high during the Plunge was 22 degrees.
MMA donated $500, which contributed to the weekend’s total donations of $24,000 toward Special Olympics Missouri. SOMO provides a year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Because I love doing charity fundraisers. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
I took the Polar Plunge because it was for a good cause. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

12698395_1692471391034279_7404412611269964716_oHOW DID THE WATER FEEL?
The water was so cold that it stung you. It was a rush of cold that went through your body. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
The water was definitely below freezing. … After I got out, I couldn’t feel my feet for an hour so it must have been really cold. My whole body went numb after I dunked my head. NOAH WEBSTER ‘18
I think the water was like 1,000,000 degrees below zero. It felt like my whole body was going to freeze! My hair froze and I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands for almost an hour. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

Yes. It was a lot of fun and we overcame our fears. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
I might do it again if I get the option to. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

IMG_1592_hacker_albertsenUKULELE DUO

At the Valentine Ball on February 13, amateur ukulele enthusiasts and MMA sophomores Otto Albertsen and Noah Hacker entertained cadets, staffers and their families with love songs “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “You and I.”


I first attempted to play the ukulele last year, when a friend lent me his for me to try and play a song I had heard. Winter break 2014 came around and I began teaching myself the acoustic guitar. After falling in love with the instrument, I decided I wanted something a little more portable and easy to take with me anywhere I go. I received a new Córdoba over the 2015 winter break and I have instinctively played it every day since. OTTO ALBERTSEN ’18

I’ve played ukulele for only two months now. My parents got me a ukulele of Christmas for a present and I immediately fell in love with it. I’m basically in love with the sound and style of the ukulele — its tropical, cute and happy tone. NOAH HACKER ‘18


The song I played was called “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I heard the original by Elvis Presley far before I even picked up a ukulele. I always enjoyed the song but it wasn’t until I heard a cover by my favorite band that I decided I wanted to learn it. OTTO ALBERTSEN ’18

The ukulele song I played was called “You and I.” My mother and I used to listen to the song when I was young. But after years rolled by, I forgot the song existed. I remember hearing the song again on a commercial. It basically was memory lane with the song, so I decided this was the perfect song to play for the dance. NOAH HACKER ‘18

Playing for the Valentines Ball was a good experience, considering it was the first time I had played the uke in front of an audience. I was very nervous leading up to the performance, but
when I stood millimeters away from the mic, I kind of forgot I was even playing. OTTO ALBERTSEN ‘18

IMG_1590_albertsenI felt very nervous at first going up on the stage. I was afraid of people judging me on how I played. But I just decided I’m not going to allow someone’s opinion to affect the things I love the most. I want to motivate people to be themselves for what they love and what they enjoy without people judging them and affecting them. We can’t let people how they think of us effect who we are. NOAH HACKER ‘18 

All kinds of music are my favorite. NOAH HACKER ‘18 


Saddle Up: Inside MMA’s Horseback Program

IMG_8291_sheldon_huntMissouri Military Academy students enrolled in the equine program not only step into the stirrup but step into the world of veterinary science.

During the fall session, cadets watched as a farrier demonstrated how to trim for a balanced foot. According to horseback instructor Julia Hunt, students also participated in “a Q&A session on why quality hoof care is a very important aspect of equine health. No hoof, no horse!”

Cadets enrolled in the winter session visited the Mexico Animal Hospital to shadow Dr. Jessi Ross, DVM, and view microorganisms including round worms, tape worms and strongylidae.

IMG_8441“We observed live equine parasites under the microscope,” Hunt said. “The next step is for the students to de-worm our horses for these parasites.”

During the spring session, students tried their hands at colt breaking and helped vaccinate the MMA horses for flu, tetanus, and diseases such as the West Nile Virus which are caused by biting insects.

“Every horse has something to teach. Every human has something to learn,” Hunt said.


On May 21, cadets Paul Murphy ’18, William Moore ’18 and Justtin Muilenburg ’17 competed in the first Missouri Military Academy rodeo.

The program began with the recitation of the national anthem and included a “salute to the soldiers” presentation. Moore, wearing a traditional soldier’s uniform, circled the fence while Muilenburg paid homage to the many soldiers — and their horses — who died in the Civil War.

“They, just like soldiers, died fighting for this country,” Muilenburg said. “In one day, at the Battle of Burden, seven thousand horses were killed.”

Cadets next competed in two timed contests — barrel racing and pole bending.

Muilenburg took first place in the barrel racing and pole bending competitions while Murphy and Moore took home a third and second place ribbon each. The rodeo wrapped up with an egg carry competition — Moore held his the longest and was declared the winner.

CADET Q&A: junior Joshua Ryan Campbell of Memphis, Tennessee, and freshman Joseph Perry Palen of Cheyenne, Wyoming

IMG_8423_palen_BESTWhat is the best part about being in the horseback program? Why?

The best part about being in the horseback program is how patient the teachers are – because it has taken a while for the horse to get used to me and it was hard to make the horse listen to me at first. PALEN

The best part is seeing back campus and enjoying a smooth ride because it’s relaxing. CAMPBELL

Which MMA horse is your favorite? Why? What do they look like?IMG_8390_campbell

I think my favorite horse is Fancy, because she is the one I ride every day. She is brown with a black stripe going down the middle of her back and black on her belly. PALEN

Lady, because I got to have her last year as my horse and she is the lead horse. She is white with black dots all over her. CAMPBELL

How did you feel the first time you rode a horse? How do you feel now?

When I first rode the horse, I was nervous. And I could tell that is was making the horse nervous too, so I tried to calm down. Now I’m not as nervous anymore, and I can tell that the horse is getting used to me, too. JOSEPH PALEN ‘19

IMG_8266_campbellI first rode a horse when I was 6. I feel very confident about my skills in horseback. JOSHUA CAMPBELL ‘17

What is the hardest thing about horseback riding? What’s the best?

The hardest thing about riding is when you’re learning how to ride the horse. It takes a while, and even when you think you’re done with training, or your teacher tells you you’re done with training, you’re not really, in a way. There are a lot of things to learn even years after the first time you ride a horse. The best thing about riding is discovering those things – discovering the things that you never knew, or even expected. PALEN

IMG_8361_palenThe hardest thing about horseback riding is controlling them. The best thing is when you get to lope them. CAMPBELL

What do you think horseback riding teaches you? Why?

For one, it gives you more strength when you’re throwing the saddle onto the horse’s back. And you discover how [to] lead, even [if] you had never experienced leading anything before — whether it be a platoon, company, battalion. PALEN

Horseback teaches you how to focus and take control so you don’t fall off. CAMPBELL


BUSHNELLWhat do you look like to outsiders? In early September, LCDR William Bushnell challenged his English III students to observe alien “tribesmen” in their natural habitat and record their findings via short creative essays.

My students were reading excerpts from Cabeza de Vaca’s Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America, in which, like the title suggests, a Spanish explorer observes Native Americans for the first time. My students “sailed” to the Barnard Hall music room and observed a tribe of middle schoolers play instruments. LCDR WILLIAM BUSHNELL

“Journey upon the Barnard Sea” by junior/adventurer Juan Diego Silva Zuniga

I, along with my men, have now found a village after sailing for countless days upon the Barnard Sea. We have found what we were looking for: a tribe of middle schoolers.

_D7C0613_silvaAfter having our leader tell their leader, who seemed so by his size, that we were going to be observing them for research purposes, we set out to our task. Immediately after settling down to watch, they mirrored our movements for a bit. If we looked at them, they looked at us. If I smiled, they smiled. These were some things we expected.

They had these weapon-like items which seemed to be made out of some shiny metal. We assumed they were weapons up until the moment they started putting their mouths to them. They then made noise. Although they didn’t tell us what they were doing, it was safe to assume that they were welcoming us with some type of ritual. They continued to do this ritual for a bit, but sometimes when they stopped we could hear the same type of ritual coming from farther away.

IMG_3417_silvaAn isolated man was trying to mimic the ritual, only to fail continuously, for he was by himself. We concluded that the chamber he was locked in was intended to teach the men to do the ritual right, otherwise they would stay in their cell.

Whilst observing, I noticed two irregularities in the tribe. They were all dressed the same except for one man. He was wearing a looser cloth than the others. Was he special? I do not know. They were all seated in the same manner, except for the smallest one. He was seated more towards the back than the others and he was hoisted higher than everyone else.

The Unknown Ones, a letter to “King Elias” by junior/adventurer Elias Cole Elizondo

As me and my fellow explorers arrived on new land, we assumed it to be empty with no civilization. Come to find out, we were wrong. As we cut through the forest of this unknown land we realized that we were not alone. We walked about a mile into the wild and saw a few little people running around in an area that looked very advanced to us. I’ve never seen anything like it before. We decided to get more information.

We started to look at these unknown people, to see how they acted and what they did that was different then what we do. The humans we came across seemed to be smart and had clothing that was very proper and matched their attitudes. They were very nice and respectful, King Elias. They will not be a threat to your honor. They were all reading books and were talking to each other as if they they didn’t know what conflict was. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me. They were very social and still seemed pure with no weapons or anything potentially harmful towards each other. They were not alarmed when they saw us arrive. They were actually calm and happy and interested to see new people.

ELIZONDOEThese people were very small in their size and width. They all had the same haircuts and some of them were acting disobedient to their elders and were getting checked for it firmly. They all acted as though they were on an equal level. No bullying each other or anything. They liked to trade their books with each other to gain more knowledge. Their language was unheard of. We will look into that eventually. We will be on our way sailing to our home land soon, your honor.

_D7C9091_BushnellAs a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Bill Bushnell spent the first part of his naval career as a Surface Warfare Officer on a variety of ships. His first shore tour was at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. From there, Bill entered the Naval Reserves and began a career in secondary education at the Culver Academies in Culver, IN. The Navy recalled Bill back to active duty to serve as an instructor and the Associate Chair of the English Department at the United States Naval Academy. In 2008, he completed a tour in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and returned to the Naval Academy until his retirement in 2013. Bill comes to MMA from Low Country Preparatory School in Pawleys Island, SC, where he was the Upper School Director.


Selfless Service with a Smile: Fall Community Service Day

IMG_5626_garzaDThe cities of Auxvasse, Fulton, Columbia and Mexico received a helping hand from Missouri Military Academy cadets on September 29 – the Academy’s annual Fall Community Service Day.


After tidying up the grounds of the Audrain County Historical Society, MAJ Mike Shoemaker’s students joined MAJ Larry McClarey’s advisees to organize props and clear out old set pieces at the Presser Hall Performing Arts Center.

Our advisory group went to Presser Hall and helped the folks over there with carrying their props and relocating them. We made shelves, then we stacked the shelves with the theatre props and including flowers, typewriters, cameras, vases, liquor and weapons which all look so realistic but are actually fake and so light and easy to use. BILGUUN BYAMBATSOGT ‘16


LT Sean Peters’ advisees organized a supply shed, walked dogs and socialized cats and kittens at the Mexico Animal Shelter.

IMG_5201_pinks_DEANI helped at the animal shelter last year and enjoyed working with the dogs and cats. When we arrived at the shelter, they told us that we needed to organize the back storage shed. The back storage shed consisted of bags upon bags of dog food, cat food and cat litter. The amount of spiders in the room was unbelievable! We had to take all of the bags and boxes out of the room so we could sweep the floor. We then sorted the boxes and bags by size and color before we put them back into the room.

After we finished the storage room, we split up into groups for the next two jobs. The first group went to the shelter’s truck, which they use to transport the animals, and cleaned it spotless. I was part of the second group in charge of cleaning all of the windows in the building. As we cleaned the windows, we visited with the baby kittens and saw some that were born just one week before we arrived. Even though they looked like rats, they were still very cute. The bigger cats loved to climb up on your shoulders. My favorite kitten was this two week old ginger cat with light blue eyes who didn’t seem to be too interested in the people crowding around his cage.

Overall, this year’s community service day was a blast. The dogs and cats at the shelter were extremely cute and fun to play with. The back storage room is the cleanest it’s been in a long time. I enjoyed helping out at the animal shelter and I am looking forward to the next community service day in the future. THOMAS DEAN ‘16IMG_5482_nguyenDerek


LT Steven Manning’s advisees dug weeds, pruned bushes and swept sidewalks while tidying the grounds of the J.B. & Greeta B. Arthur Cancer Center. ESL instructors Lu Shu and Cheryl Lu combined their advisories and picked up litter at a local park and alongside Pollock Road.

I had three bags full of trash that I picked up, so I felt really good about that. TUGULDUR ALTANGEREL ’17


SFC John Biddle and LT Steven Maziarz accompanied students to the Missouri Veterans Home, where they washed dishes in the cafeteria and played bingo with residents.

My favorite thing about community service day is going to the VA home and being able to help them there. During community service day I went around the parking lot and the back area with my group and we picked up trash all around and filled two bags full of trash. We helped serve food to the residents and we were able to talk with them and get to know what life was like at the VA home. It IMG_5443_hackerwas also very fun to get to know a little history as well. After we helped clean up the food left over from the residents we were able to go to the cafeteria and get our food. We sat outside for a while to eat our food. When we went in to play bingo with the residents we realized it would be a very intense game. There were a lot of winners and a lot of game faces shown by the residents. At the end of the day I was glad I was able to go to the VA home and help the residents and staff there. I hope that I will be able to do it again the next time we have community service day. ALEXANDER SEIBERT ‘18

We visited three nursing homes with different personalities in the air at each one. My favorite nursing home was probably the last one we went to in Fulton, MO. These older ladies told us they don’t get out of their rooms that much. I felt bad because they don’t get many visitors. I was very lucky to play board games with some elderly people. It was nice talking to them about their past. You could be talking to a war hero, or a person that changed lives of many people, or created new things. They have their own special talents. It’s also cool to think how long they’ve been on Earth and how much experience they have. For me, meeting new people is one of the greatest feelings in the world. And also making an elderly person’s day, maybe even their week. All in all, community service day was all worth my time and made other people’s days better. DEVIN KOTAS ‘17

LOCAL YMCAIMG_5643_prinsterG

LT Lewis Bell and MAJ Keith Morgan’s students spent Fall Community Service Day re-painting stripes at the Mexico YMCA pool.

The YMCA has an outdoor pool that has two diving boards, a high dive, a small slide, and also has a tiny kiddy pool on the side. We helped unload all the paint buckets and the rollers. We painted the sides of the pool, and then began to paint the floor. The floor was the hardest, because in the deep end, there was a big ramp that led down and it was very slippery. It was really hard to walk up and down it, and paint on it. After we got the deep end done, all we had to was paint the lanes of the pool, and that wasn’t that hard. We had two people painting each lane, and two people painting the kiddy pool. This community service day was really hot and exhausting, but I feel good, because we helped out the community. TRAE VAN TASELL ‘16


LCDR Bill Bushnell’s advisees, supervised by librarian Fran Robley, visited the Mexico Chamber of Commerce on Community Service Day. The group washed windows, weeded flower beds and painted the conference room a warm shade of gold.

“I was privileged to take these hard-working MMA seniors to the Mexico Chamber of Commerce,” Robley said. “[It made] my heart happy to see these wonderful young men learning to give back to their community and enjoying it! … I was really proud of them.”

Our whole advisory went to the Chamber of Commerce. We started to pull weeds around the building and get any trash close to the curbs.  After that, everyone washed all of the windows inside and out, which was actually a pretty difficult task, since the windows went up to at least a story high. A friend and I had to maneuver a huge ladder out of the basement and outside.  After a good lunch everyone got back to work and started to paint an office on the upstairs floor. The color had been a greenish yellow color before. It looked like a really vintage paint they used in the 70s. The room was painted a coffee brown color. It made the room look more sophisticated and more relaxing.  The whole group spent about 5 to 6 hours painting that one room. Since no one really could paint professionally it took us a minute to paint it well. At a very slow pace, we didn’t mess things up.  At the end of the day it was all worth it because hard work really does pay and our group got to go on a Sonic run after we had finished. NELSON AGUILERA ‘16


The advisory groups of MAJ Mike Pemberton, MAJ Peggy Reynard and MAJ Ananta Khanal – about 30 students – packaged nearly 5,000 pounds of food for area communities at the Central Missouri Food Bank in Columbia, Missouri.courtMorris_palen1

We put oatmeal in a bag, stapled it, wrapped it and boxed it. We finished about 12 boxes. A box is filled with about 40 bags. That’s a lot! CHRISTIAN ELL ‘16


LT Cheryl Morris headed to Auxvasse Elementary School with her students, who picked up litter and tended to flowerbeds, while 1SG Randal Jacobson’s advisees spent the day at Arthur Hills Golf Course.

We got to help out the seventh graders and then help all the first, second, third and fourth graders pick up trash. This was a good trip because we got to help a school look nice and have fun at the same time. CHRISTIAN FOSTER ‘19

Article by LTC Willis Kleinsorge

Five cadets gave up their free time on Saturday, September 26, to do valuable community service work in a very poor area of Jennings, Missouri. Cadet Michael Naughton’s father is on the police force in Jennings and his department was hosting a cleanup of an area of 5 or 6
blocks in the poorer part of his police jurisdiction. Mr. Naughton told his son to invite a group of cadets to come to Jennings to help with this community service project. 9.26.15_courtLTCK_chapa_chenD_naughton_cong_johnjoshuaMichael contacted his advisor (me) and MAJ Edsel Baker.  MAJ Baker made the announcement at a noon mess and five cadets volunteered to help in this task.

Dongyang Chen ’20, Joshua John ’17, Weitao Cong ’16, Michael Naughton ’20 and Hector Chapa ’16 made their way to Jennings, not sure what they would find when they arrived. What they found was a very poor neighborhood being assisted in a major cleanup. Three huge demolition dumpsters were on the site to be filled. The area police academy had ten or so volunteers helping and a dozen college students were on hand.

Mr. Naughton greeted us, handed us gloves, loaded us up in a pickup with a trailer hitched to it, and put us immediately to work. The police force and academy had already spent several hours cleaning up the 60 abandoned houses / properties in this several block area. They had done a lot of the initial work in hauling tons of garbage and brush to the curb.

9.26.15_courtLTCK_chapaOur group did some initial cleanup, but mostly we loaded trailer after trailer of debris and then unloaded it into the three large dumpsters. We filled all three dumpsters to the max, two with garbage and one with brush. We then loaded up one more trailer and my pickup bed and headed to the city dump. It was a day of hard labor, but our time and effort was worth it. The local residents were pleased to see the police force going to the trouble to help clean up their neighborhood. It was an eye-opening experience for the boys and a very good service performed. We could have filled another dumpster or two if they would have been on site, but Mr. Naughton said he would have to work on it during the following week to finish up the job.

After spending several hours cleaning the neighborhood, Mr. Naughton treated us to a meal at the local Chinese restaurant. He then took us to the Jennings Police Department and gave us a tour of the police headquarters and jail. The group had a good day and all worked hard to help in this community service project.


My favorite part was when we finished painting the pool at the YMCA. JOSHUA CAMPBELL ‘17

Being with my brothers helping out, seeing them laugh, and having a good time with them while we help at the Food Bank. JOSE MEJIA ’16


I felt good because I gave back to my community. SKY SPOTTED EAGLE THUNDERCHILD HENIO ’19
I felt like I had helped make many people happy. ROBERT PRYOR ’16IMG_5567_frith_robley

At first I thought I was going to hate picking up chestnuts all day, but it was actually fun. I would like to do more community service. SCOUT JONES ‘22


I think having community service day is valuable and very important because it teaches us that a community should look after another and help each other, and it teaches us life skills. BILGUUN BYAMBATSOGT ’16
Selfless-service and care for one’s neighbor and community are essential traits to virtue and character.  All of you should feel proud that you gave back and helped someone, some group or organization today! DR. FRANKGIUSEFFI

IMG_5595_pinksBecause it builds teamwork and discipline. JOSHUA CAMPBELL ‘17

I do think community service is important because some of the workers have tough jobs and they need just some extra help.

To keep the community looking as nice as possible. DION NGUYEN ‘16

Eighth graders discuss their hopes and dreams in Language Arts class

18Middle school cadets presented projects about their hopes and dreams during CSGT Mike Harding’s second period language arts class March 12 and 13.

Carlos Liriano ’18 spoke of his ambition to become a computer programmer and game designer, sharing screenshots of programming programs.
“To do computer and game programming, you need a special programming language called C++” Liriano explained.

Next up was Lucas Moore ’18, who wants to be a dentist when he grows up. “The median expected salary for a typical dentist in the United States is $150,791,” Moore said. “That’s a lot of money for someone like me. That’s so much money. I don’t even know where to begin to spend it.”

William Moore ’18 next presented his dream of enlisting in the U.S. Army after college and going through Basic Combat Training. “This will be really fun,” Moore said. “I hope to be in the Rangers. Rangers lead the way!”

The final presentation was by Donald Williams ’18, who spoke about his hope of learning to ride horses and becoming a part of the U.S. Army Cavalry Division. “I want to have a greater future,” Williams said, flipping slides with photos of uniformed men riding horses.

Other middle schoolers involved in the project included eighth graders Paul Murphy and Jacob Wright. Murphy spoke of his amibition to become a computer engineer.

“I’m good with computers and I like working with them. I know a lot about programming,” Murphy said.

“A policeman, state trooper or ranger is what I want to be when I’m older and get a job. It is dangerous but I like helping people,” Wright wrote in his report. “I would prefer to work in a small town to begin with. The reason I don’t want to work in a big place like NYPD is because it is too crowded and I’m more likely to get injured if I’m being shot at all the time. My job will be a very important one. … The fun begins when we get to raid buildings and other hostile places. Before I can become a cop I have to go to a police academy to learn how to be one.”

A Cadet’s Perspective: First-year student Rodrigo Blanco ’18

New Boys and Old Boys returned for classes on January 7. Many are new to the boarding school life and may suffer from homesickness. Here is some advice from first-year cadet Rodrigo Blanco ‘18. (Interview by student-journalist Francisco Fletes ’18.)

Q: Why did you decide to come to Missouri Military Academy?
A: Because I felt it was a very good opportunity to practice and study outside of Mexico.

Q: Who told you about the Academy?
A: My brother because he attended here. He told [me] very good things and spoke highly about the school.

Q: Were you nervous on your first day?
A: Yes, because I was entering a totally new phase where I was now independent and was very far away from family and home. … When I was in the car and I saw the school I thought uh-oh, there’s no going back now!

Q: Who were the first people you met?
A: Cadets Carlos Nieves ’14, Miguel “Mike” Gonzalez ’16 and Mohammad “Emran” Babak ’16 at the ESL camp.

Q: Did you enjoy ESL camp?
A: We had fun because they took [trips to] Six Flags twice and we went to the mall.

Q: Did you adapt easily in classes and in the barracks?
A: I had some problems adapting because of homesickness. … [MMA is] a really good school but it still has some times when I really want to take a timeout from all the military stuff and go home.

Q: What advice would you give to people who also have homesickness?
A: To be strong because everything gets better.

Q: What is your best MMA memory so far?
A: Going back and seeing all my family and friends proud of me.

A Cadet’s Perspective: Middle School Football

HENIOJOHNSONStudent-athletes Charles Norman ’18, Sky Henio ’19 and Zaide Johnson ’19 played on the Mexico Middle School Bulldogs football team this past season. Here are their thoughts about football.

Henio: I enjoyed it ‘cause I got to go and practice with other people and learn how to play with everyone else. You get together and get to tackle and run the ball and get a point. We all came together to make a team and just play. We won one game. After that we were so happy. The most memorable moment for me was when I got my first quarterback takedown. What motivates me the most is all my friends telling me I can do it.

Norman: The Bulldogs did outstanding this year. The most memorable moment, would be our whole line supporting our quarterback complete a kick return. I enjoy football because I get to work with my teammates and hit people hard. Football is better than other sports because it is very tough. It is a whole team effort sport. And it is full-contact. My motivation is my family, past champions and knowing that I will do my best to show my team that I am very talented.

Johnson: The Bulldogs performed great this season. The most memorable moment of my football season is when I know that I will drive my opponent down the field. I enjoy football because I love how I’m able to not only play well but am able to have fun at the same time. What motivates me to play sports is that I know it is good for my body to get the exercise. [Football] is better than other sports because it motivates you to do the best of your ability.

A Cadet’s Perspective: Q&A with SGT Simon Barrera ’15

Did you miss out on the fun at Fall Family Weekend? Here’s a Q&A with SGT Simon Barrera ’15 by student journalist Francisco Fletes ’18.

Q: What would you describe as the highlight of your weekend? A:  The highlight of this past weekend was being able to see my parents after two months and being able to spend time with them.

Q: How did you feel when you saw your parents? A:  The moment I saw my parents standing in the Atrium, I felt relieved and happy just knowing that I was going to be able to spend time with them after two whole months.

Q: Did you like meeting your cadets’ parents? A: I enjoyed every single moment of it. It was a pleasure to let them know how their sons have overcome a big step in young adulthood.

Q: Did you consider the review important? Why? A: Yes I did. The review honored the class of 2014. … I will eventually become a senior and go through the same process.

Q: Did you think the weekend was well planned? A: To my eyes this weekend went [very] well and in my opinion it was one of the best organized events I’ve seen throughout my three years at MMA.

Q: Did you enjoy watching the soccer and football games? Why? A: It’s always nice to get to see both the football and soccer games. I enjoy and encourage school spirit and … the support from us cadets to our fellow cadet athletes.

A Cadet’s Perspective: Q&A with football manager Robert Moore ’17

The MMA varsity football team faced off against Principia during Homecoming but fell 16-48 on their home turf. Here’s a Q&A with football manager Robert Moore ’17 by student journalist Kyle Mertens ’16.

Q: What do you do as football manager? A: I review and edit the football films and go to the games with the team.

Q: What is your view on the Homecoming game? A: We played our hardest, but we were unable to win.

Q: How much did the team practice before the game? A: They practiced every day during the athletic period and reviewed film after study hall.

Q: How much do you enjoy football? A: I enjoy going to the games and watching our team, but do not watch football recreationally.

Q: Did the weather affect the team’s performance in any way? A: The rain limited the players’ visibility and made the ball more difficult to catch.

Q: What is your favorite part of being in football? A: Getting to be a part of the team, and do what they do.

Q: What was your favorite moment of the game? A: When we got our first touchdown.

Q: How did you feel the team was going to do before the game? A: I was confident in them, but sadly we lost.


A Cadet’s Perspective: Q&A with varsity soccer forward Victor Marroquin Gonzalez ’15

Marroquin VThe MMA soccer team traveled to Westphalia on September 24 to battle the Fatima Comets. The Fighting Colonels lost a hard-fought battle 6-5 in (2OT) but remained positive. Here’s a Q&A with varsity soccer forward Victor Marroquin Gonzalez ’15 by student journalist Francisco Fletes ’18.

Q: What were your thoughts before the game? A: That last year’s scores would not affect our performance during the game, since we won against them last year.

Q: How did you feel during the game? A: I felt really tired because we had 6 games between last week and the game.

Q: What was your opinion on the first half and the differences from the second? A: On the first half we were not passing the ball to our wings. During the second half we had more ball control and possession.

Q: What did think were your strong and weak points during the game? A: My strong points were shots on goal and passing to the wings. My weak point was slowing the tempo down.

Q: What did you think was the reason you lost? A: Not everyone … was giving their 100 percent during the game.

Q: Who would you highlight as one of the best players that game? A: In my opinion, Jesus Gracia ‘16, since he did what he was supposed to do, and he gave his 100 percent as well – which helped him score his three goals.

Q: What was other factors affected the score? A: We were almost dead when the second overtime hit so we were really just trying to end it as quick as we could. … We ended up losing but we will bounce back next time.

Q: What did you think about the other team? A: They were not as good as us but they were giving their 100 percent and that helped them and made them look a lot better.

Q: What are the things the team plans on working on after this loss? A: Ball possession, accuracy and communication.

Q: Any final thoughts? A: Since we have almost a week till our next game, I think we have enough time to practice our weaknesses in order to make them our stronger points.

A Cadet’s Perspective: Why Did I Do That?

by Blake Gorman ’13, Eagle Columnist

GormanHumans are not perfect. MMA cadets certainly aren’t perfect.  Everyone makes that one decision that they regret for the rest of their lives but I like to think that an individual is “not defined by the bad decisions that he makes but by how he reacts after that bad decision,” as CPT Reynolds would put it. People have the freedom to make choices – whether those choices are bad or good. There will always be that moment when we will have the freedom to do the right or wrong thing when no one is watching.

My grandfather always tells me, “The people that put you down now will eventually be the ones that will work for you.” I always lived by that and used it as my motivation, now more than ever.

Pride is what fuels an individual to become successful but it is always the one thing that can poison an individual’s mind and ruin them. I believe that this is exactly what happened to me when I made a recent mistake. I tend to fix it by accepting, facing, and suffering my consequences for my actions. Then I will redeem myself and prove to everyone that I have changed with the amount of time that I have until the school year ends. Time is merely of an essence for me.

Whenever someone makes a terrible decision, it can affect them for the rest of their lives. They will regret it for the rest of their lives.  This is what will definitely define an individual’s will and perseverance. They can either live in a life time in a slump or they can try to find a solution to fixing their mistake and learn something from that mistake. We all have that free will to make good or bad choices. We usually think of this as a good thing but sometimes we take advantage of that privilege and that free will can easily turn into a curse, haunting us for the rest of our lives. But there is always a way to fix our mistakes and learn, even if it takes a lifetime to fix it.In general, people that make bad decisions generally don’t think of the long term effect of that decision. For example, when someone eats a fast food cheese burger they generally don’t think about what that cheeseburger will do to their body later that day. Instead they are thinking of the quick and delicious taste that is satisfying their hunger. Then later that day they may regret that decision after feeling the side effects of the burger.

When an individual is put in a tough situation instead of just acting on it simultaneously, they need to stop and think. One problem that I have is that I don’t think of what the consequences will be I think of ways to avoid those consequences. The only way to be 100% sure that anyone won’t face the consequences from bad decisions is by not making them in the first place. Think about what will happen when you make that decision and all the possible things that can happen and if one of the possibilities is you ending up suffering then don’t make that decision. The best thing to do when faced with a bad decision is to just walk away.

Major mistakes could never be undone and this is when you officially regret making that decision for the rest of your life. The only thing you can do at this point is reflect on it. People who make these types of bad decisions were most likely undergoing something called an “emotional hijacking,” when emotions take over someone and they act before they think.

MMA has given me better judgment during my time here, but nobody is perfect.  As human beings we all have our flaws. But try not to make that same mistake twice and put yourself in a precarious situation.

Blake Gorman is a senior cadet from Wentzville, Mo.  He will attend North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga.

A Cadet’s Perspective: Welcoming Mid-Year Cadets

by Blake Gorman ’13, Eagle Columnist

I see a lot of new boys come into the Corps of Cadets throughout the year. Just last year I was one of the new boys that came in the middle of the year. I enrolled at MMA right after the Christmas break. A lot of cadets say that the cadets that come in the middle of the year miss all of the hard times, but that is not always the case.

It can be harder to transfer schools, especially socially, because everyone has already established friends from the beginning of the year. Many cadets are reluctant to willingly accept the “new boy” into their social circle.  I personally have experienced being the “new kid” at other schools and at other public schools – it can be difficult to make friends. I only had hours a day to get to know those individuals, but at MMA you have the experience of living here, so you get to know your fellow MMA cadets quite well.

Missouri Military Academy Cadets

It is the duty of the current Corps of Cadets to make sure new students are able to easily adapt and become part of the Corps – that may involve helping them get settled into the barracks, showing them where classrooms are, welcoming them to athletic teams, and guiding during team exercises.

Another reason it is tough being a mid-year student is making huge adjustments. The pressure of adapting to the cadet life on campus can be very tough overall. It can be even tougher if you are the only one learning the ropes while everyone else already knows how things go. But there will always be someone there to help you out, like your leaders. At the same time, many of the leaders should remember that the new boys are learning all of these things and, just as it is at the beginning of the year, we have to be patient with them.

Cadets that come in the middle of the year may sometimes be instantly assumed as ‘bad kids’ – maybe there is a reason why they were sent at MMA halfway through the year. We have seen that is not always the case. There are a number of reasons students enroll halfway through the year. It could have been from bad grades, to learn time management, or just wanted to pursue a serious career in the military. All in all, cadets that show up in the middle of the year aren’t always the “bad kids.” One senior I spoke with said, “There is no such thing as a bad kid. There are just good kids that have made bad decisions or has been living in a bad environment.”  Let’s do our best to welcome these boys into the Corps of Cadets and help them along in their new journey.





Blake Gorman is a senior cadet from Wentzville, Mo.  He plans to attend North Georgia College and State University with the intention of joining its Corps of Cadets.

A Cadet’s Perspective: Values of a Good Cadet Leader

by Blake Gorman ’13, Eagle Columnist

“Criticize in private, praise in public.”

-1SG Jacobson

I, as an MMA cadet leader, can sometimes feel that the way I run my platoon is the wrong way to do it. I try to run my platoon according to the ways that I feel is the right way but I wanted to take the initiative to find out what is truly the right way of running a platoon or a unit in general. Now, what I mean by the correct way is not by the book, though there is a lot of helpful advice in the book. But there are times when a leader is going to be put into situations where “by the book” isn’t going to cut it. Everyone has their own styles of leadership but there are times where it just goes a step to far. What I mean by this is that a leader merely focuses on the negative things, which is not a good way to motivate your unit. If a leader wants to motivate their unit they have to “praise” them. Let them know they are doing the right thing, so they can continue doing it. When you use positive motivation results will always show.

Criticism is necessary but not in front of everybody else. First of all, you lose respect of that individual and the unit. You’re going to criticize an individual’s performance do it one on one instead of  screaming at them in a formation. My company commander always tells me “If someone in your platoon gets a check then it’s technically your check too.” So if you’re yelling due to their poor performance, you’re yelling at yourself. It’s a leaders job to teach until they know that their unit knows. After that if they mess up discipline them.

With a large enrollment of new boys and a small enrollment of old boys, there is going to be a lot of inexperience in the core. But having a lot of new boys is not necessarily a bad thing because there is also a lot of potential for re imaging MMA. Now, it is on us leaders to do this. If we do, we can form a responsible, respectful, attentive, and successful battalion.

However, there are  concerns that the military department of MMA brings up about leadership, like dedication for example.  Sometimes they fear leaders are “half stepping” their positions. This means leaders have to take their positions seriously and always set the example.  Dedication is essential to success.  One important position that requires such dedication is squad leader.  They have to be the ones that are most involved with their subordinates. Squad leaders are supposed to be the last person to be delegated too. He also mentions that squad leaders are the ones that are supposed to know the most about their subordinates.

An overall leader is a leader that finds a solution to a problem and he doesn’t point fingers at anyone. He has to know his weaknesses before he knows his strengths. He is not selfish but he is selfless. For example, my company executive officer, Cadet Master Sergeant Nguyen, dedicated his time every day just to make sure that the entire company is motivated and everyone is in check. One day he even looked up a quote for every cadet in the company, even leaders. There are many ways to motivate a company and it can be as simple as doing things like sticking quotes on everyone’s door.

Right now in the core, leaders are still learning different styles of leadership. There is no specific way to lead. Everyone has a unique style of leadership: one person could lead with a strict disciplinary style while the other one is more reserved and leads with positive motivation.

This is also one of the worst times of the year to be a leader because it’s close to Christmas break and everyone just got back from Thanksgiving break. This is going to make everyone act up and cadets are going to be lacking a lot of discipline. There are many external conflicts like keeping everyone under control and make sure that they are in line but there is a major internal conflict too. I as a leader right now is struggling to keep myself in line and to still keep my authority. The only thing that crosses my mind though is what I’m going to do when I get home and it is tough to keep my MMA state of mind. I’m having a difficult time just keeping myself disciplined and I’m also trying to keep the platoon disciplined.

Old boys know how to cope with this issue but the new boys have no idea what they are getting themselves into. In times like this we need to warn them about how it’s going to affect their performance because they probably don’t even notice it and they won’t until it has affected their company with checks. It is important to warn the new boys about what’s going to happen throughout the year so they can perform at their best potential. The more that we keep the new boys informed the more they feel like they are a part of something. The new boys that we are leading now are very important to keep motivated because they could one day be the Battalion Commander. Now, wouldn’t that be something special to know that I was the first one to impact on the way he leads now. A new boy’s first leader is the leader that is going to impact him the most. That impact could be a positive one or a negative one. That new boy can either lead like the way you do because he respected you as a leader or he can lead the exact opposite way that you did because you were a poor leader that didn’t give anyone respect but you still demanded them to respect you.  This is not the type of leadership we should promote to them.

Responsibility is a key to being a successful leader. Sergeant Major Suddarth states that, “Leaders need to take their positions seriously always set the example that their subordinates can follow.”  If a leader sets a poor example their subordinates will follow that example which will make that subordinate a terrible cadet, which will affect the overall performance of the Corps. Leaders make a big impact on the core, and it is up to us to maintain and improve.

There are many ways to put yourself in a position to lead at MMA.  If you apply yourself early and often, it will become clearer which style of leadership is the best one for you and your unit. But always keep in mind that your leadership can affect everyone around you.  If it is a positive effect, the corps will continue to produce effective, responsible, and strong leaders for the future.






Blake Gorman is a senior cadet from Wentzville, Mo.  He is interested in attending colleges such as The Citadel, University of Missouri, and Missouri State University.



Homesickness: A Cadet’s Perspective

Blake Gorman ’13, Eagle Reporter

As an MMA cadet, I get homesick on occasion because I miss my family back at home. But there are ways that I cope with homesickness. Almost every cadet here gets homesick, whether you are an international or American student, new or old boy; there are a number of ways for you to cope with homesickness.  One example can be found in your cadet handbook on page 19.  There is a list of steps that you can take to feel better about yourself while you are away from home.  It’s very common for cadets to experience extreme homesickness.  The farther away from home you are, the worse it can be.  But before you get to that point, perhaps consider talking to someone about it, take a deep breath, and realize that the person to your left and right are most likely experiencing the same thing if not worse.

The worst period of time that homesickness can come upon us is right when school begins and also when we come back after Christmas break.  The time we spend with our families over the summer and around the holidays can contribute to our longing for home.  Another reason we can come down with homesickness is when we hear of something important or significant happening at home, such as a sick relative or family birthday.  But I always have to remember that my family is proud of me for being here. This academy will make you a better man than you could ever imagine being. We may be away, but maybe being away for some time can make us stronger men.

Middle school cadets can definitely feel homesickness because they’re still at a point where they are not as old as high school students and can have a tougher time getting used to being at MMA.  Whenever I was in middle school, I couldn’t bear being without my mother for a seven-hour day at school. You don’t see your mother when you are here. But try to stay strong – I know it’s hard but stay positive.  Talk to older boys and listen to how they deal with being away from home.  One middle school cadet said he goes old school and writes letters to home instead of emails.  He says he wants his family to know that he is doing fine here, and that he cannot wait for them to visit.  But he added that he believes if he keeps working through it then he will be better prepared for the future.

There are other types of home sicknesses we can experience. Perhaps in addition to missing our families there are also times when we can be insecure of being here. But just as there are ways to get through missing our families, we can also do things to make ourselves more comfortable here.  For example, faculty members are there to help you.  They will find ways to make you secure. There is always that faculty member that every cadet goes to. I like to talk with the nurses in the Cadet Clinic if I’m going through difficult times. One high school cadet I spoke with said he feels better sometimes after sitting down and having a conversation with CPT Moffitt.  There are times when you may believe faculty is making you feel insecure.  They will not harm you in any way shape or form. They are here to help you along your way on the path to college and our future.  They are willing to help you become a better man.

The main thing about MMA is what you make of it. You can both hang your head down and be negative everywhere you go or you can work to get past that, excel, and get involved. There are many extracurricular activities that take place at MMA. For example, I am involved in six different clubs and organizations: The Eagle, Raiders, Honor Guard, Drama, Chapel Worker, and Railsplitters. If you stay positive and explore your options, you will make it through and you will like the results. Improving your physical, academic, emotional, personal, or spiritual lives will set you on the right path of where you need to be.

Just remember these words as your fundamental advice for the future, “I will not lie, cheat, or steal and I will correct others that do.”