FORT KNOX, Ky. – “You could have been home enjoying your summer,” shouted one drill sergeant from atop the raised platform. “Why are you here?”
Rising Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors fresh to ROTC and the Military lifestyle woke up bright and early June 9 to learn the basics of Physical Readiness Training (PRT). All Cadets face two questions: “Why am I here? What’s my personal motivation?”
Lt. Col. Jason Eddy from 1st Regiment Basic Camp observed from the side.
“This is our first day of real training,” Eddy explained. “Many of them do not have prior military experience or training back at their home station, so we’re designed to give them that here as a part of basic camp.”
Drill sergeants and platoon leaders snapped Cadets into line, and missteps were quickly corrected. PRT is a set of ten rudimentary exercises which must be performed correctly.
“Physical training is one of the foundations of what we do, and it helps us not only run faster and do more pushups, but a physically conditioned body also helps us with field training and other events we do.” Eddy continued. “Learning how to do this right and correctly the first time will help us grow stronger as we go throughout the rest of the camp.”
Cadets perform these first movements “in cadence.” That was the chant of the drill sergeants. “In cadence.” When everyone moves together, mistakes are easier to identify and work through.
“[Exercising together] also builds teamwork and comradery among the unit,” Eddy added.
Drill Sergeant Raul Nieves from 1st Regiment explained why PRT is the first event of Basic Camp.
“They’re just getting a taste of what the Army’s like,” Nieves said. “This is the Army standard. Everyone has to perform this physical readiness training.”
In between exercises, Cadets refilled their canteens, and the drill sergeants made sure they hydrated.
“It’s a hot day, there’s a lot going on, but everyone’s focused,” Eddy concluded. “We’ll do this every day to get better at it.”