Honoring Riverside's Sergeant Major and Interim Commandant & Welcoming New Leadership

Katie Martin

Sergeant Major Jorge Sosa

Dedicated men like Sergeant Major Jorge Sosa have spent decades investing in the lives of young soldiers and in the lives of the cadets at Riverside. Following his retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps, SgtMaj Sosa began his tenure at Riverside in 2010 as a Teaching, Advising, and Counseling (TAC) officer. He was appointed to serve as Riverside’s first Academy Sergeant Major one year later. Along with his many responsibilities as Sergeant Major, he also served as Interim Deputy Commandant for the past two years.

Among Sosa’s deepest joys from his time at Riverside were seeing two of his sons graduate from the Academy, and one of his proudest moments was when the Raiders brought home their first National Championship in 2014. As one of the coaches for the team, Sosa played a vital role in helping the team set high standards to which they held themselves accountable as they won seven National Championships. According to senior Joseph Hudson, “Sergeant Major has taught me that it’s very hard to succeed if you only work when you feel like working. You have to be consistent and put out more effort than your competitors.”  Sosa oversaw drill and ceremonies which are integral to the provision of discipline and structure for cadets.

Over the years, Sosa has imparted wisdom to the young men who pass through the halls of Riverside. He has reminded countless boys, “Life is all about attitude. You can overcome anything with a good, positive attitude.” These life lessons continue to shape Riverside’s graduates long after they leave the Academy.

As he prepares for retirement, Sosa said he is looking forward to relaxing and spending time with his wife. As he reflected on his time at the Academy, he said, “My time at Riverside has been very rewarding because, in this position, you have the opportunity to positively impact a young man’s life every day. I’ve had boys stay in touch with me long after they leave the Academy, and that is priceless.

Lieutenant Colonel Adam Carter

Lieutenant Colonel Adam Carter is a prime example of selfless service. After serving in the U.S. Army and Alabama National Guard, LTC Carter joined the faculty at Riverside as a TAC officer in 1996 and was later promoted to Chief TAC in 2000. His exceptional leadership quickly led him to the role of Deputy Commandant where he served for 17 years.

Following the retirement of Commandant LTC James Spivey in 2019, Carter accepted the position of Interim Commandant without knowing the COVID-19 pandemic would add challenges no one could foresee. Carter has graciously served in his role for the past three and a half years.

Carter’s steady demeanor is a vital asset for Riverside as he faithfully mentors young men. In his many years at Riverside, he has exhibited empathy for boys from all walks of life. One of Carter’s greatest pleasures from his time at Riverside is seeing the cadets grow
in brotherhood and camaraderie to achieve their goals. Carter explained, “When you live in a communal environment like Riverside, cadets raise their expectations not just of each other, but of themselves. Boys see their peers accomplishing goals and want to progress also.”

Though Carter was offered the permanent position of Commandant, his true desire is to support the cadets and TAC officers as Deputy Commandant. He said, “I believe I thrive as Deputy Commandant. I enjoy counseling the boys and creating a consistent, healthy environment in the barracks.”

Riverside is honored to have Carter continue his service of 27 years. Carter said, “When anyone reflects on how they’ve spent their life, they want to be able to say they’ve spent it on something worthwhile. Working and living in a profession like this is certainly worthwhile.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Pooley

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Pooley was introduced to Riverside several years ago through the cadet exchange program with The Royal Hospital School in Suffolk, United Kingdom. The exchange program offers cadets the opportunity to experience life in the U.K.

Following his service as an instructor for the Outward Bound program, the University Officers’ Training Corps, and the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve, Pooley was hired as a boarding school housemaster. He has spent more than thirty years mentoring youth in the boarding school environment.

President COL(R) Staś Preczewski approached Pooley about joining Riverside as the new Commandant, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted the transition. Following the pandemic, Pooley accepted the position of Commandant. Preczewski said, “Lt Col Pooley has years of demonstrated experience implementing a developmental leadership model at a military boarding school.”

As Pooley adapts to life at Riverside, his primary focus is on cadet experience which will, in turn, yield positive growth. “I want to showcase Riverside to the rest of the U.S. and world so parents view Riverside as a place to maximize their son’s potential. Riverside can be a beacon."

Pooley also understands the legacy and history of Riverside. “An organization’s roots are important, like a strong oak tree that has established roots. I want to grow relationships with alumni and keep the momentum going.”

Pooley recognizes that the brotherhood formed at Riverside is not temporary but can have a lasting impact on each cadet. “Riverside is not just a stage in a young man’s life. We’re here to continue supporting the students and offer a place for them to return.”

“LTC Carter’s selfless desire to provide his 26 years of superb leadership experience at Riverside to pair with Lt Col Pooley’s decades of developing leaders abroad results in a dream-team scenario for the Corps and completes the permanent senior leadership team for the Academy,” COL(R) Preczewski said.

“Their synergy will dramatically enhance the cadet experience in virtually every aspect of cadet life and personal growth.”

Command Sergeant Major Chad Blansett

Command Sergeant Major Chad Blansett first encountered Riverside at the 2021 Atlanta Veterans Day Parade. At the time, Blansett was stationed in Atlanta with the South Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. According to Blansett, he was immediately impressed with the discipline Riverside cadets exhibited as they marched in formation at the parade. After a brief introduction to President COL(R) Staś Preczewski, Blansett and his Division Commander were invited to Riverside for a tour. Two years later, upon his retirement, Blansett accepted the position of Command Sergeant Major at Riverside following the retirement of SgtMaj Sosa.  

“Riverside is blessed to have two of the finest Sergeants Major consecutively serve in the critical role of Academy Sergeant Major. Their transition remains seamless as they serve as superb role models for our Corps of Cadets by setting the example for expected professionalism in every aspect of cadet life,” said Preczewski.

In his 31 years of service in the U.S. Army, Blansett is most proud of his longevity in the armed forces. His service included three peacekeeping and six combat tours, which he described as, “tough assignments but always in the presence of great soldiers and leaders.” The leadership he exhibited over more than three decades of service across the world enables him to offer firsthand experience and wisdom to cadets. Blansett understands the difference positive role models can have on young men. He explained, “Success is my only option. I want to do whatever I can to support the team and raise great young men through mentorship.”

“I hold servant leadership in high regard and know that respect is not given, it’s earned. I’m proud to be able to continue to wear the uniform at Riverside and mentor young minds,” he said.  

Blansett has spent the last several months learning the ins and outs of Riverside and has enjoyed experiencing the history and culture of the Academy firsthand. “This is another great opportunity to give back to the country I love. I look forward to learning from the cadets as they learn from me.”
    • Change of Command Ceremony