FORT KNOX, Ky.—Families collected at Fort Knox Parade Field to mark the end of 1st Regiment, Basic Camp’s 31-day training. Cadre, Cadets, and loved ones felt the weight of today’s duty, honor, and pride in country echoed in every sonic blast of the cannonade across Brooks Field. Even the wind seemed to know its place this morning, as it brought flags to a light flutter.
The General’s Surprise Speech…
Maj. Gen. John Evans took hold of the microphone for an impromptu speech, reaching out into the audience to give a stronger perspective of today’s meaning.
“So, this is the unscripted part of your program where the General shows up and says, ‘hey, I want to talk to everybody,’ and the staff freaks out because they’re not counting on that.”
“…But, anyway, I want you to know and appreciate the fact that these men and women have been through one heck of a crucible over the last 31-days. And, I applaud the fact that they came out here … to do this for their nation, to do this to challenge themselves, and to do this to prove that they have the mettle to be United States Army Officers.”
“So, as you go back and have discussions with them about this experience, and as some of them are still trying to make a decision about whether or not to turn to the Army as a career choice, I would encourage you to engage them—to talk to them about the things that are important for our country, the things that are important for our way of life—and talk to them about commitment, and reach the decision that your heart’s lead to.”
“For all of you out there, congratulations. Well done! Thanks for being here, and thanks for doing the job that you do, each and every day.”
…Back to our Regularly Scheduled Program
Col. Matthew Rauscher, Task Force Warrior Commander, served as host and reviewing officer for the ceremony.
Rauscher oversaw the presentation of 15 individual awards and the graduation accolades of all members of Alpha and Bravo companies.
This year, onlookers witnessed the first recipients of the ROTC Scholarship. This Scholarship is “presented to Cadets who demonstrate outstanding performance, as Scholar, Athlete, and Leader across all aspects of Basic Camp, indicating outstanding potential for future service as an Officer, as determined by Regimental Cadre,” according to the ceremony program.
Cadet Tabb D. Patrick from James Madison University and Cadet Zachariah T. Warhus from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale both proudly held their checks, each worth enough to cover tuition and fees for room and board for their respective universities.
“It means a lot,” Patrick said. “A lot of [the credit] goes to my Cadre and my fellow Cadets.”
Upon return to College, Patrick is ready to jump fully into ROTC, bringing with him experience and knowledge from CST.
His mom, Phyllis Carpenter, said they were so surprised and excited. The specific award had been a close secret until this morning.
After the presentation of all awards, Rauscher stepped up to the lectern.
“Just yesterday, as I watched rehearsals here on this field, I was thinking back to when I was a Cadet. I was reminiscing about my time at CST, and I was amazed at how much of that experience I still remembered. It is truly an experience that changed my life for the better, as it did for so many of the Cadets standing in front of you.”
“Service to the nation is both a privilege and a sacrifice, but this burden is made lighter by the love and support of family and friends.”
“The Cadets on this field today have been lead to the edge of their physical and mental capabilities, yet never quit. They’ve earned the right to be called United States Army Cadets.”