By Geoff Ziezulewicz
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.