FORT KNOX, Ky. – The end of the month-long journey that the Cadets of 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp has finally come. For many Cadets, today was a day that almost seemed unattainable just a few short weeks ago. They have all fought hard and courageously as they were tested time and time again, but today all that hard work is paid back and the memories created during Cadet Summer Training 2018 are worth their weight in gold.

Advanced Camp Graduation day, the culmination of a month of struggle, pain, and a number of sleepless nights all come together as this special group of Cadets are praised in front of family and friends alike. Although today is the day of celebration, the true reward lies not in their successes, but in the failures overcome along the journey. Their bodies and minds have been put to the test and because of it, they have become stronger, wiser, and more self-confident.

Guest Speaker, Col. Mike Calvin presenting his speech in front of the Cadets of 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp and their families during the graduation ceremony of Cadet Summer Training 2018. Fort Knox, Ky. July 20 Photos by: Jakob Coombes

Guest Speaker, Col. Mike Calvin touched on the importance of forward progression. He continuously came back to the importance of handling adversity, striving on no matter what the path ahead may look like, and how one day this group of Cadets would fill many important leadership roles for our nation. Calvin would go on to quote the great Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

The quote perfectly summed up the purpose of Advanced Camp for all the Cadets that were brave enough to weather the storm. Every lesson learned from camp does not come from triumph in a particular field, no one will remember their score on the fitness test, how many targets they hit during Marksman qualification, or their time during the 12-mile ruck march. The true lessons come from the failures, they come from the struggles, the moments where the Cadets either didn’t know or didn’t think they could do something. Their failures and how they overcame them are what will carry the day, because anytime that they find themselves in a similar situation or in a place where they think they may not succeed, they will be able to draw from those past struggles and find new ways of driving through the hard times.

Cadet Darren Tobey, University of Kentucky, receives the AUSA Leadership Excellence Award July 20 at the 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp graduation. This award is presented to the top Cadet in each Regiment, as determined by Regimental Cadre Board. Photos by: Jakob Coombes

To the Cadets of 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp who might be reading this, congratulations, you’ve earned the praise and the admiration that come with graduation day. However, don’t stop there. Continue to push for new heights. Continue to make mistakes along the way. Continue to enjoy the journey you have all begun.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson