FORT KNOX, Ky. – The 2nd regiment of advanced camp Cadets arrived at Fort Knox, Kentucky on May 30 for 2017 Cadet Summer Training, (CST).

Upon arrival, Cadets are required to do a gear layout to ensure that they have the equipment necessary for the training ahead of them.

“It’s pretty much you take all your gear out, you put it on the ground and see what you have and what your deficiencies are. That’s the point, to ensure you have the proper equipment for the upcoming training event.” Said Cadet David Nelson, University of Alaska, from Sanford Florida. This step is essential for multiple reasons.

Cadet Khory Wheat, Eastern Kentucky University, Lexington, Ky., takes inventory of his belongings on the first day of training with the 2nd Regiment of Advanced Camp at Fort Knox. Ky., on May 30, 2017.
Photo by Nicholas Bafia

“The first day is really about making sure that everybody has all of the equipment they were supposed to bring, doesn’t have any equipment they weren’t supposed to bring, swearing them into the platoons that they’re going to be operating in for the rest of the month and initial counseling. So, letting them know our expectations and what they can expect from us.” Said Capt. Maxim Howard, stationed at Norwich University in Vermont.

Some of the many items the Cadets are required to have include a poncho, uniform pants and shirts, socks, gloves, bungee cords, elbow pads and knee pads.

In the barracks, Cadets go through other paperwork and their Cadet handbook before heading down to be checked before PT. While Cadets wait to be checked, they consider the training they are about to undertake.

“I’m excited for the FTX. Get out in the field and get some practical training going on. So we’ll see how that goes out.” Said Nelson. Some Cadets have other training in mind.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to testing my metal against Cadets that I’ve never met rather than just the same group that I’ve always trained with at my college,” said Cadet George Koglmeier, Dickenson College. “Also, getting to meet Cadets all around the nation and really getting to see what we’re all made of and ready to get that army feel.”

The Cadre also look forward to training.

“I love teaching. Just working with them and seeing them figure things out as they’re doing them is always very rewarding,” said Howard. “We’re here to make sure they don’t go down the wrong rabbit hole while they’re out in the field, make sure they don’t do anything that’s not safe. Really, getting to see them do critical thinking and problem solving in a field environment is really kind of the most rewarding thing here.”

“I’m mostly looking forward to the Cadet led patrols during the field training exercise. I think it’s fun to watch the Cadets grow and develop over the weeks and become, basically, a self sustaining platoon that can operate with little input or guidance from the Cadre members.” Said Sgt. James Kazukietas, a 2nd regiment advanced camp platoon Observer Coach Trainer (OCT).

With the beginning of training, Cadets reflect on what they want to learn and teach to one another.

Cadet Celeste Thomas, Tuskegee University, from Montgomery, Alabama, wants to work on her, “leadership skills, coping with other people from different environments and to get more physical and mental toughness.”

“I’m really hoping to get a handle on just myself as a leader and getting to really see what that’s like in an environment where people don’t know me for three years and just getting my temperament under control when I’m leading and learning how to adapt to everyone’s style and not just my own.” Said Koglmeier. Some Cadets look introspectively at their future training.

Cadet David Nelson, University of Alaska, Sanford, Fla., reads paperwork while organizing his new room with Advanced Camp 2nd Regiment at Fort Knox, Ky., on May 30, 2017.
Photo by Nicholas Bafia

Nelson looks forward to his, “leadership abilities and motivation among Cadets. You can still have a good spirit, a good attitude and be motivated, even when you’re going through the grind.”

Cadre also reflect on their training and what they want to demonstrate to Cadets while they are training together.

“I’d say the words of wisdom that I have for Cadets is that old saying ‘no man or woman is an island’. You can’t really be successful without building a team, building trust, and building positive relationships.” Said Kazukietas.