FORT KNOX, Ky. – Preparation; the eleven-letter word that carries a pivotal meaning to the Cadets of 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp. Tasked with the objective of creating thorough and concise battle formations, the Cadets prepare for every outcome imaginable when conducting their Squad Battle Drills. Although today focused on walkthroughs and practice, the foundation being set will undoubtedly lead to success down the line.
The late and great John Wooden, world renowned philosopher and hall of fame college basketball coach, built one of the most successful dynasties in all of sports during his time at UCLA. The key to his team’s successes stemmed from a system he created called the “Pyramid of Success.” The pyramid was constructed of 15 blocks, each one crucial to, not only success on the court but, success in life. Without even knowing it, the Cadets of 7th Regiment are on the path to demonstrate each one of Coach Wooden’s building blocks of success.
“There is no substitute for work, Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.”
The Cadets demonstrate industriousness through their countless hours of dedication and training. Specifically, today the Cadets worked through a number of different situations they could face on the field of battle. They created the proper tactics to handle the threat of enemy insurgencies and looked at situations from the point of view of the opposition; playing devil’s advocate and finding any weakness that might be present in their craft.
“To yourself and to all those depending upon you. Keep your self-respect.”
It is evident that the Cadets are loyal to one another, their superiors, and the nation that they are willing to protect with their lives. Not many young men and women are willing to take the plunge and spend a month of their summer, learning the ins-and-outs of becoming a leader like these special few. Their everyday actions evince the loyalty they have to protecting their loved ones.
“Be observing constantly. Stay open-minded. Be eager to learn and improve.”
Not only are the Cadets required to be alert in the field, they show great ability to “stay open-minded” (as Coach wooden puts it). They show unwavering persistence to the tasks presented and often ties do with a grin from ear to ear.
“Cultivate the ability to make decisions and think alone. Do not be afraid of failure, but learn from it.”
Each Cadet is given the opportunity to lead and the opportunity to follow. In the moments of leadership, Cadets from all backgrounds are able to find their strengths and take absolute ownership of the opportunity. They know that this is their time to make mistakes, because the Cadre and their peers will be there to correct them and help them learn for the next time.
“[Enthusiasm] brushes off upon those with whom you came in contact. You must truly enjoy what you are doing.”
Patient and understanding with his team, Cadet Sanchez (Fordham University) does seemingly everything with a smile and laughter. After spending time teaching Basic Camp Cadets as an MS3, Sanchez joked, “This is the real deal. Now it’s the old guys turn and I can’t wait.” Other Cadets feed off that energy; the positivity and joy builds moral and makes everyone on the team better.
“Practice self-discipline and keep emotions under control. Good judgment and common sense are essential.”
When walking through the drills, things don’t always go smoothly on the first try. Even when forced to do a specific section over and over again, often leading to frustration and high tensions, the Cadets would take steps back to see if there was anything they were over thinking. Their ability to stay calm and look at situations at face-value is what lead to the success of the team.
“Comes from mutual esteem, respect and devotion. Like marriage, it must not be taken for granted but requires joint effort.”
Watching the way this group of Cadets work and interact, you would never be able to tell they were once strangers. They may not all be creating lifelong friendships, but they are finding ways to connect through their shared experience.
“With all levels of your co-workers. Listen if you want to be heard. Be interested in finding the best way, not having your own way.”
The ability to work efficiently with your teammates is what separates a successful team from the rest. Each Cadet has the opportunity to lead the team, in order to ensure that your team members respect your ideas and authority, you have to willing to listen to them.
“Set a realistic goal. Concentrate on its achievement by resisting all temptations being determined and persistent.”
Both in camp and beyond, these Cadets will be tasked with achieving different goals. The skill that they are learning now is how to block out the distractions and zero in on the end prize.
“Respect without fear. May come from being prepared and keeping all things in proper perspective.”
The Cadets are only nine days into their month-long camp. With each passing mission they continue to gain confidence in their abilities. Coming into camp, there are going to be questions that they have about themselves; they’ll wonder if they are physically capable to pass certain aspects, if they are mentally resilient enough to stick with it, or even question if they are on the right path in life. However, if they stay the course and keep “all things in proper perspective,” they will undoubtedly come out the other side of this journey better than they started.
“A knowledge of and the ability to properly and quickly execute the fundamentals. Be prepared and cover every little detail.”
What are the Cadets doing at camp? What is the purpose? They are here to fine-tune every part of themselves and create the best officer/human possible. The Cadre help them look at every small detail and leave no stone unturned when aiding in their growth.
“A genuine consideration for others. An eagerness to sacrifice personal interests of glory for the welfare of all.”
For the Cadets of 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp, it’s never just about personal success. They have committed to joining one of the nation’s biggest teams, where it is and will always be about the glory and welfare of all.
“Just being yourself. Being at ease in any situation. Never fighting yourself.”
With all the focus on the team and the mission, it can be easy to lose sight of the individual. Each one of these young Soldiers are unique and bring something different to the table. It is important that they never lose sight of what makes them who they are.
“Mental-Moral-Physical. Rest, exercise and diet must be considered. Moderation must be practice. Dissipation must be eliminated.”
The Cadets have been (and will continue to be) tested mentally, morally, and physically. Camp is not easy by any means, but if it were they wouldn’t be gaining anything from it. The growth comes from the struggle and these Cadets will be proud of what they accomplished when it’s all said and done.
“Be at your best when your best is needed. Enjoyment of a difficult challenge.”
The final block to success; competitive greatness comes as the by-product of doing everything else. If these Cadets continue on their current path and continue to take care of business, they will be ready for any obstacle in their way (both in the Army, as well as in life).
The journey is still in its early stages. With much to learn and experience, this group of Cadets will be tested time and time again. However, they have shown tremendous ability to tackle any challenge thrown their way and if they continue to follow Coach Wooden’s pyramid of success, they will continue to find success in all they put their minds to.
“Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.”– John Wooden