FORT KNOX, Ky. — 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets are walking into the woods in the rain during the Field Training Exercise July 16, 2018.
From college classroom to Army labs, those Cadets need to manipulate a series of mock battles that pit one platoon against another in the forest, defend themselves in the ‘jungle’ of tall grass, or walking across timbers in the pouring rain.
The Field Training Exercise is designed to test the skills, knowledge and leadership capabilities of Cadets. It presents them with a lot of autonomy in planning and execution.
Cadet Matthew Shannon, Xavier University, is the Platoon Sergeant for a small group of soldiers. He is taking his platoon out and looking for the objective.
“We just walked for 600 meters; try to move from Alpha training area to another place,” Shannon explained. “We set up a route plan for today about attacking an objective called BOA, and we will take it over!”
The FTX provides an excellent opportunity for those Cadets to be in a place they’ve never been before. It gives Cadets a general idea on key training events, and from there it was up to them to get everything figured out.
In addition to the training benefits provided by new challenges and expanded space, the weather condition is another test of mental endurance for all the Cadets involved in the field.
However, as a leader, a Cadet has to be able to respond to all the changes and keep morale high.
Andrew Schifalacqua, a student from Virginia Military Institute, said, “This is your first leadership position that you have to know about how to handle things such as water or dry clothes.”
According to Schifalacqua, sometimes it rains and gets wet in the field, but gets hot and dry suddenly.
“Things can change quickly and it’s all about fighting in adverse circumstances,” he said.
The Field Training Exercise is the culmination of all the things that Cadets have learned in their initial weeks in training.
“If it’s not raining, you are not training.”
In the end, everybody learns from the outcome, and they will have figured out what they need to do or what they should not have done.