Becoming a Student Leader: A Q&A with a Military School’s Battalion Commander

Turner Dowling, Battalion-Commander, Riverside Military Academy

Edgar T. Dowling III (Tuner) was recently appointed Riverside Military Academy‘s Battalion Commander for the 2011-12 academic year.

As the highest ranking cadet/student leader, Dowling’s responsibilities include, “training of the battalion on drill days, commanding the battalion at all formations, and working with his staff and school administrators in coordinating activities of the battalion to ensure accordance with all Academy regulations.”

Dowling’s appointment piqued our interest: how does a student rise to such a leadership position? We called Riverside (Gainesville, GA) and they we kind enough help C/LTC Dowling visit with us.

1. How many years have you been at Riverside?

Four years.

2. When you arrived on campus as a ninth grader, did you see the Cadet Lieutenant Colonel, and say “I want that role; I want to be in that position”?

It wasn’t a role I wanted to pursue. I was blindsided (by the school’s structure) when I arrived. But, I needed it. By the end of my first year, I was a freshman squad leader. I kept setting goals.

I worked to be the type of person that showed interest in the Corps. Truthfully, I didn’t see myself as cadet commander.

3. What example do you work to set for other students?

I want to be someone willing to help you. Once you reach this position you have little contact with cadets. You have to rely on commanders. I like to be in contact. I ask cadets, “How are you doing at RMA? Can I help with any problems you may be having at Riverside?”

Asking questions shows that you care. Success of the mission is built on the welfare of people. I want to make sure that all cadets have what they need to be successful.

4. What’s the most important thing you do day-in and day out as Cadet Lieutenant Colonel?

Affirming the Honor Code is the number one thing I do. By upholding the honor system, I set the standard for the Corps of Cadets.

5. Talk about the faculty member who’s influenced you the most. How did his lessons prepare you for your leadership?

Lieutenant Colonel Jarrard has been the strongest influence on me. He is morally irreproachable. He’s helped me to become a man, to become a stronger person, and to reach out to strangers and build new relationships.

I also learn daily leadership lessons from fellow cadets. I watch to see what techniques work and which don’t, and I implement the ones that do.

6. College Plans?

I’m looking at marine engineering colleges- Maine Maritime, Massachusetts Maritime, and SUNY Maritime.

  • Guitargod2464

    damn nigguh

  • Guitargod2464


  • raquel g. macfarlane

    mass maritime is rt up the road from us….we welcome you!!!!! to new england !!!! (fox trot)
    john-mark macfarlanes’ parents-dr. & mrs. john h. macfarlane
    we appreciate your role model on our son as well as all the other cadets.thank you for being you and congrad to your mom and dad …give your mom a big hug!!!-mrs mac.
    you and every detail of rma are in our prayers!!!!…….go eagles!!!

  • Johnhraquelgmac

    congrat on your position and influence over our son ,john-mark macfarlane (fox trot) as as the other cadets. mass maritime is rt around the corner from us…we welcome you to the new england beautiful waters!!!!!!!!give your mom a big hug and congra…well done !!! much appreciation for you @ rma….rma will always be close to our heart and prayers!!!Go eagles!!!!The Lord Bless you as you fulfill your duties and responsiblities and a bright future to come awaits you!!!

Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

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