Last Updated: October 16th, 2020By

Fort Knox, Ky., – Advanced Camp Cadets receive tactical instruction on planning and implementing an ambush, patrolling, and problem solving during Squad Tactical Exercise, a several day training component for CST.

Cadet Dalton Pick, student at the University of California, Berkeley, native of Monterey, California, was one of the team leaders planning and creating the ambush.

“Right now we are in what is called the darby phase of Advanced Camp. What we are trying to do right now is make sure that all these Cadets coming from different schools across the country, are on the same page tactically on what needs to happen in different tactical environments,” said Pick. “Right now we are doing an ambush, so we are just making sure that everyone understands the key pieces that go into that, so you can conduct the ambush and recover from that smoothly once we actually get out into the real FTX.”

Three 10th Regiment Advanced Camp Cadets pull security while the team leaders of their squad plan an ambush during STX trainingJuly 30, Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Emily LaForme).

Planning and preparation are crucial in designing an ambush that will be successful.

“The initial phase of planning an ambush is essential is identifying which teams you want to be performing certain roles throughout the ambush. We have assault, we’ve got security support, and each of those elements is in a really important role in what’s going to be going on in the objective,” said Pick. “The assault is going to be actually pushing through the objective and making sure that enemies are cleared and that no is going to pop up with a weapon. Security is making sure that our back is covered so that no one is going to be coming from the rear. The biggest part of planning is making sure everyone is on the same page with that and that they are prepared to execute once we get out there.”

The Cadets spent a great deal of time planning their ambush.

“I think the biggest part of planning and executing a “perfect” ambush, honestly I don’t know if there has ever been a perfect ambush in history, but I guess the closest thing you can get is keeping a level head when you are in [a position of] leadership” said Pick.

Stressors and remaining on task can prove difficult in the tactical environment.

“I think a problem that a lot of people have is they get stressed out when we are out here. You know, little sleep, little food, from my experience, it’s best to take a step back. They call it having tactical patience, just taking time to analyze what is going on and making a decision when you are ready and being decisive when you do. Don’t just jump into anything just to make a decision, you have to think about what you are doing and be calm,” said Pick.

The Cadets are awake and training for long hours at this point in their time at CST, and working past exhaustion and stress can be difficult.

“I think it’s difficult to maintain discipline and all that when you are out here. Like I said we are running on less sleep than most of us are used to. I’ve never been out in the woods for this long in my life,” said Pick. “At the same time, we feel pressure from the Cadre to be our best selves out here, we feel pressure from each other to rise to the occasion, and to help each other out, and make sure we each look good when we are in a leadership position. You know, it’s hard, but it’s not impossible and I think we are doing it everyday.”

STX prepares Cadets for the upcoming tactical training throughout the rest of camp, including simulated combat training.

Pick feels like he has learned a lot from his time with STX training.

10th Regiment Advanced Camp Cadets hold a planning session for an ambush they will implement the next day, creating a model on the forest floor, July 30th, Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Emily LaForme)

“I’d say the biggest thing I’ve learned out here in this phase of camp is really just to take things slow when you are making decisions, you know, be decisive, but like I said, try to be as calm as you can,” said Pick. “I really mean it when I say it’s easy to get stressed out here and make decisions that don’t make sense in retrospect. You have to think about when you make a decision, are you using common sense or are you doing something that you would do if you had all the time in the world to think about it.”


For Cadets preparing to enter STX training, Pick recommends preparing ahead of time while at school.

“I would say come to camp knowing your stuff. Try your best to be prepared, you can do that through just training hard at your home school and taking all the training seriously,” said Pick. “It’s easy to feel like it’s abstract when you are not at Fort Knox doing the training, but once you get out here it’s all too real. So, take it seriously ahead of time, and once you get out here just enjoy it, honestly. I think a lot of people are uncomfortable right now, you know, just in these conditions and being outside. I think that if you can be out here and just maintain positive attitude, that’s more than half the battle. Just be positive and happy to be here.”

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: