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Cadets participated in a six-mile ruck march assessment at 4 a.m. on June 9, 2019 to prepare themselves for their 12-mile ruck march at the end of Advanced Camp.

3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadet Luis Ruiz-Colon, University of Puerto Rico, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, talks to Captain Catherine Clarke-Pounder, South Carolina State University, after completing the 6-mile ruck.. Photo by Dustin Massengill, CST Public Affairs Office

The Cadets have to complete the six-mile trek in two hours in order to maintain the required pace.

Lt. Col. Michael Marchetti Company Commander of Bravo Company 3rd regiment explained the ruck process.  He said, “A ruck is a backpack that soldiers wear that carries all of their equipment. For this ruck, the required weight is 35 pounds.”

He continued, “Ruck marches are important because the Army moves on its feet. And Soldiers have to be able to lead from the front. These Cadets will need to be able to ruck from their formations and lead them.”

The Cadets showed leadership throughout the ruck. They powered through and finished in high spirits.

Cadet David Miller attends the University of Iowa, and is from Arlington Heights, Illinois. He said, “It was tough, but we got it done. I think everyone has been working really hard. The morale was really high.”

When asked about how he prepares for ruck marches, Miller said, “I just keep rucking. The only way to prepare for rucks is to keep rucking. And keep your morale high. If you go into it with a negative attitude, then you won’t make it.”

Cadet Alex Duke attending Lehigh University, and from Alexandria, Va. spoke about the hardships of a ruck. “The hardest part about a ruck is just not getting in your own head. Just stay focus on getting the task done, and not looking too far forward.”

3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadet Luis Ruiz-Colon, University of Puerto Rico, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, talks to Captain Catherine Clarke-Pounder, South Carolina State University, after completing the 6-mile ruck.. Photo by Dustin Massengill, CST Public Affairs Office

Duke said that he focuses on keeping up his pace. “Every time you slow down, just focus on walking a little faster and then find a good battle buddy to talk to, keeping you motivated.”

Ruck marches like these create a bonding effect for the Cadets. Cadet Lauryn Thomas represents the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is from Riverside California. She said, “You know, we’re all in this together, so my battle buddy was with me the whole time. So, we just kept pushing each other, making sure nobody fell behind. Just, you know, knowing what was on the other end of the finish line.”

That finish line was indeed a great motivation for Cadet Luis Ruiz-Colon. He is hererepresenting the University of Puerto Rico and is from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He said, “I feel amazed, just because I did my best ruck time right now.” He finished in 1 hour and 15 min.

The Cadets will continue to train and prepare themselves for the final assessments before graduating Advanced Camp.

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