FORT KNOX, Ky.- Deep within the forests of Kentucky, 7th Regiment Basic Camp (CIET), Bravo Company Cadets perform the Squad Operations portion of their training—specifically Reacting to Contact Aug. 1.


Cdt. Louis Park, University of Colorado Boulder, makes his way through the rough terrain during Squad Operation training with the 7th Regiment Basic Camp (Cadet Initial Entry Training) at Fort Knox, Ky., Aug. 2. Photo by: Trent Taylor

The purpose of this training is to teach these Cadets to move as a squad, to think as a team and to ensure they properly complete their mission.

The Cadets were quiet as they navigated through the brush. They were given a mission this morning, the objective being to find and confront enemy forces. Once fire broke out, the Cadets had to think on their feet and conduct a plan as a squad to fight back.

The enemy forces are role-playing Cadets who must stay in place as if wounded or killed if they are hit by simulated fire until the i dies down. The Cadets then check the dead bodies for any explosives, secure the location and make sure every enemy is indeed dead.

Once the mission is complete, the enemy role-players are helped up by their fellow Cadets. They laugh together, chatting about the satisfactory completion of their mission.


Cdt. Trevor Perry, Flordia Atlantic University, provides security while Cdt. Louis Park, University of Colorado Boulder, checks the body of Cdt. Brett McLaughlin, University of Kentucky, for any explosives or intel. McLaughlin was role-playing as an enemy combatant who was defending their position while the American forces pushed through during 7th Regiment Basic Camp (Cadet Initial Entry Training) Fort Knox, Ky., Aug. 2. Photo by: Trent Taylor

2nd Lt. Benjamin Hoffman explained the purpose of Squad Operations and Reacting to Contact.

“It’s to develop confident and competent leaders. They’re here today to learn basic skills,” Hoffman said. “It’s motivating to see them improve so much, to see so much change since day one.”

Cdt. Nick Polizzi, 24, from the University of Washington, expressed his thoughts about the mission.

“Today we conducted a movement to contact, which means we know where the enemy is and we see the enemy before they see us,” states Polizzi. “All soldiering skills we’ve been taught are used. I’m sweaty and tired, but this is the fun stuff!”

Cdt. Veronica Mora, 26, from Cameron University in Oklahoma, said she also gained a lot from the training.

“We work well as a team, we adapt and we work well together. Today’s mission was successful, but I believe there’s always room for improvement. We collaborate well because we act as though this training is real-life,” Mora said.

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