By: Mattie Cook

Fort Knox, Ky.,- Cadets of 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp rounded up all their equipment, cleaned everything and headed to the Central Issue Facility, July 30.

“Today at CIF we are turning in all the equipment we got at the beginning of camp which is the final stage of camp for us,” said Cadet Nicholas Christopher, University of Louisville, Ky.

Cadets of 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp return their equipment at the Central Issue Facility on Fort Knox, Ky., July 30. (Photo by Mattie Cook)

Unique to other Advanced Camp Cadets, Christopher has had his equipment for two months, instead of the normal 30 days. He and a few others in his regiment arrived to Fort Knox, 30 days prior to their training to be Basic Camp trainers. This opportunity is for Military Science three Cadets.

“I was a trainer for 2nd Regiment, Basic Camp. Our job as a trainer is two-fold,” he said. “We are mentors but we are also evaluators. I had 13 Cadets or so that were directly under me and I had to watch them and also be someone they can come to if they’re having problems or difficulty in a skill. And as evaluators, we’re the ones responsible for telling the officers in-charge of our platoons that Cadet was great at this, or this Cadet needs improvement in that.”

Basic Camp trainers have the unique perspective to train Cadets, but also know what it’s like as a Cadet being trained. Through both sides, they are able to put their leadership lessons to direct use; an experience Christopher says is invaluable.

“It’s really good going to basic camp to be a leader first. If you can teach something, you know it. Helping teach and enforce the things Basic Camp Cadets are doing is so positive,” Christopher said. “We all got the full spectrum because we had a hand in leading the younger Cadets, which we will be doing back at University as well as leading our own peers.”

When asked what’s most important to him in leadership, Christopher had this to say.

“Leadership is always changing, and you must always be humble. No matter what you think you know, someone knows more about it and someone’s been there before you and you never know until you actually ask them or you’re doing it with them. No matter what your skill level is, or how much you do know, humble yourself before the people before you because they’re going to be right there with you. Someone who brings themselves down to the levels of myself and my peers, and says we’re all in this together is someone I want to be led by.”

Over the past 60 days, Christopher has trained with hundreds of other Cadets in all types of events; ruck marches, the rappel tower, CS gas chamber, field training exercises, obstacle courses and much more. From his time in Fort Knox, he says the camaraderie has been the most rewarding.

“For Advanced Camp, my platoon was super cohesive right off the bat. I can maybe count our arguments on one hand,” he said. “That type of camaraderie and friendship develops so fast in these types of environments and that is so rewarding.”

Basic Camp Trainer, Cadet Nicholas Christopher, University of Louisville, Ky., is hugged by his platoon after they completed an obstacle course on Fort Knox, Ky., June 15. (Photo by Mattie Cook)

When asked about his favorite experience from camp, he recalled a bear hug from his Basic Camp platoon.

“We were at an obstacle course and as MS3s, we didn’t participate as to stay safe for Advanced Camp. After everyone went through and had completed it, they were joking that I was too clean so they all came over and gave me a big group hug. That’s when I knew it was all worth it. That was definitely the best memory,” said Christopher.

Looking forward, Christopher and other Advanced Camp graduates will return to their respective universities for their final year of ROTC and then commission as Second Lieutenants upon completing their degree. As parting thoughts from camp, he had a few words of advice.

“I would say to any MS3s coming to camp next year, make sure you’re prepared. Take in every lesson, get all your troop leading procedures down. Be ready to be hot and sweaty for days on end because it’s only going to get even more challenging,” he said. “Stay fit, read up on doctrine, practice the doctrine and know how to execute it.”

Cadet Summer Training will bring 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: