Commanding Lead: She’s Ranked No. 2 At Mostly-Male Citadel Military Academy

By Geoff Ziezulewicz
Chicago Tribune.

PLAINFIELD, Ill

When she was touring colleges during spring break of her junior year at Plainfield South High School, Savannah Emmrich checked out the grounds of The Citadel, a storied military college in Charleston, S.C.

“When I showed up at The Citadel and got on the campus and saw the uniforms and the knobs double-timing, and the dress parade they had on Friday, I was so impressed,” the 21-year-old said. “I knew that was where I wanted to go.”

Emmrich learned quickly that “knobs” is slang for freshmen cadets, “double-timing” is a marching pace and “dress parade” is a parade in full military uniform.

As she gets ready to graduate from The Citadel this spring, Emmrich has not only immersed herself in the school’s military culture while earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, she has risen to the top of the cadet ranks. She currently holds the No. 2 position among the 2,300 cadets in the school’s regiment, which is essentially the military version of a civilian college’s student body.

Emmrich is second in command of the cadet unit that operates like a unit in the military, and school officials say she is one of a few female cadets who has held the position.

This command position means she helps lead the cadets in their morning workouts, conducts inspections, meets with lower-level cadet commanders and leads them in formation to meals. Along with those duties, she still has to handle her own class load.

After graduation, Emmrich, who received a track-and-field scholarship to attend the school, is slated to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. She will train to be a combat systems officer, also known as an aviator, or “the job Goose does” in the movie “Top Gun,” she said.

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