Last Updated: October 16th, 2020By

FORT KNOX, Ky.—Cadets of 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, zipped, shimmied and built their ways to becoming future leaders at the Alex Field Leader Reaction Course.

“We work in squad-based teams and we are conducting a leadership exercise to best navigate obstacles as a group.” explained Cadet Alex Northington, Virginia Military Institute, “The objective is to increase communication and best accomplish each obstacle by working together with hopes of bonding the group through teamwork.”

Northington acted as Squad Leader during Station 7, Cliffhanger, and he was able to brief his team as well as observe how his team worked together to problem solve during the mission.

Cadets of 5th regiment, Advanced Camp prepare to send a squad member acting as an injured pilot down a zipline in FLRC Station 7, Cliffhanger, on June 17. (Photo by Breanne Ward).

“The Squad Leader changes with every rotation. You are given five minutes to plan, a two-minute brief and 25 minutes to accomplish each obstacle. We’ve been able to do each of them so far within the time hack.” said Northington.

Northington believes that leading truly shows strengths and weaknesses within the team that can further be applied in the field. He expressed how he enjoys having the opportunities to lead during Cadet Summer Training.

“Leadership is investing in your followers. To really invest in your team and empower your teammates to accomplish the goal and get everyone to buy in is true leadership. If anyone ever feels isolated or not like a part of the team then you’re failing in leadership.” shared Northington.

The FLRC works to build these leadership and communication skills within every team that encounters it. It is built of obstacles designed to test the quick thinking of Cadets. Station 7, Cliffhanger, was especially difficult with its zipline-style design.

Cadet Justin Eldridge of 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp shimmies down the zipline toward a squad member who acted as an injured pilot in station 7, Cliffhanger, in the FLRC on June 17. His teammates stand below him as safeties. (Photo by Breanne Ward).

“FLRC is to train Cadets under pressure and their leadership abilities and skills and thought process.” said Sergeant Robert Goodloe. “It’s constant be-on-your-feet kind of situations.”

Cilffhanger is designed to represent having to transport an injured pilot across a gorge filled with lava. If Cadets drop any of their supplies into the gorge, the supplies are burned and are lost in the mission. Cadets must get all of their equipment across, treat the injured pilot, and finish the mission within 25 minutes while facing other challenges that may occur.

“Upper-body strength and height differential, which you cannot do anything about, are challenges.” said Goodloe. “Helping the shorter Soldiers across first would be the best idea.”

There was not a single Squad thus far that has gotten 100% on the Cliffhanger station. Many have came close, but none have been perfect yet.

Cadet Summer Training will bring about 8,200 Cadets through Basic and Advanced Camp this summer on Fort Knox. These camps are designed to help challenge, grow and improve various skills and leadership qualities within the Cadets. If you think you have what it takes to be a Cadet or if you are interested in a job after college click the following link: