FORT KNOX, KY –  Even through inclement weather and gray skies, the Cadets of 3rd Regiment, Basic Camp managed to smile as they marched across Brooks Field for their graduation ceremony which signifies the completion of their training.The young college students from around the nation endured 31 days of rigorous training during Cadet Summer Training.

Major General John Evans Jr., Commander of Cadet Command and Ft. Knox, at the graduation ceremony for Basic Camp 3rd Regiment. Photo by Gia Cruz.

Events like day and night time land navigation tested Cadets to manually navigate through various terrains, trusting their pace counts and road measurements to locate a pinpointed area. Weapon qualifications helped ensure a Cadet’s comfort level and concentration capabilities when aiming at a target up to 300 meters away, and the infamous gas chamber, a test for Cadets to trust their equipment during potential chemical warfare. Although the Cadets have experienced a plethora of training, many of them had to find their inner strength and reach their full mental and physical capabilities to conquer each day.

3rd Regiment, Basic Camp posting the colors at Ft. Knox during their Graduation Ceremony. Photos by Gia Cruz.

These Cadets were accompanied by drill sergeants who evaluated each training event and provided insightful and resourceful feedback as a learning experience to help mold the future leaders. “This was an interesting experience,” explained Cadet Ryan Bolton of Xavier University, “I’ve made a lot of friends, and learned a lot of new things about the Army. Definitely an experience that I will never forget.” Bolton also shared between smiles and laughter the advice that he would pass down to other Cadets that are headed to Basic Camp. “Take things as they come,” Bolton said, “you’re going to want to go home, but it’s going to be one of those things that you will never forget.”

3rd Regiment, Basic Camp, Alpha Company saluting during their Graduation Ceremony at Ft. Knox. Photos by Gia Cruz.

As Cadets rushed to change out of their combat uniforms at the conclusion of the graduation ceremony, Cadet Jamal Stokes, Old Dominion University, offered friendly handshakes and waved his goodbyes to his battle buddies as they started walking towards their families. Stokes jokingly admitted how he won’t be missing drill sergeants as much as his battle buddies. “This has been a humbling experience,” Stokes added, “Just being here with these people. I feel great honestly.” As many Cadets start their travel back home, most of them walked out with their heads held high and a sense of pride to bring back with them.