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FORT KNOX, KY. – “The past 37 days have been really tough and eye opening, but it makes me more motivated. It makes me ready to start my career in the Army,” said Cadet Catherine Vitale, from Saint Johns University- New York.

Along with Vitale, who wants to become an active duty component Quartermaster Officer, Cadets from the 3rd Regiment are now one step closer in their Army career after graduating from Advanced Camp. This is a day many anticipate after a rigorous 37 days of training.

Cadets stand at attention during the 3rd Regiment Advanced Camp graduation while listening to Lt. Gen. Thomas James, Commanding General of 1st Army, at Fort Knox, Ky., July 9. | Photo by Matthew Billiot, CST Public Affairs Office

During the ceremony, 18 Cadets were awarded the RECONDO Badge. In order to achieve this, Cadet must score 270 or higher on the APFT, with a 90% minimum on each event; score 90% or higher on the written Land Navigation; find 5/6 points on day and night Land Navigation; receive a “Go” on all First Aid, CBRN, and Call For Fire tasks; complete the 6-mile foot march (with a 35-pound rucksack) in 90 minutes or less; qualify as a sharpshooter or expert marksman on their first attempt, and have no founded disciplinary action.

After these awards were given, Lt. Gen. Thomas James, Commanding General of 1st Army, gave Cadets an encouraging word on leadership. He reminded Cadets, “the Soldiers you lead will always be watching you.”

Something Vitale got out of CST was the different leadership styles. She said, “You see different styles of leadership everyday in your peers and Cadre.” Vitale also said, “I got some really good mentorship from amazing Cadre members.”

When she and her platoon were doing their 14 days of Field Training Exercises (FTX), she did not have her phone, so she was unable to communicate with her loved ones at all.

At the end of the 3rd Regiment Advanced Camp graduation, the Color Guard marches past the Reviewing Stand at Fort Knox, Ky., July 9. | Photo by Matthew Billiot, CST Public Affairs Office

Being away from home was the most challenging part for her. Vitale missed being able to talk to her family and friends, which “is a normal thing that I think a lot of people take for granted,” she said.

“Cadet Summer Training really shows you what kind of leader you are. When times are hard, [and] people are frustrated, how do you lead them? How do you bring people up? How do you get the mission accomplished without [upsetting] people?” said Cadet Austin Eggers, from the University of Houston.

Eggers said that this is something he can apply to his life, not just the military.

He said no matter the circumstances, he tried to always have a smile. “You have to make sure it is a one team, one fight situation. You are all in it together,” said Eggers.

“Don’t be fake, be true to yourself and smile the whole time,” is Egger’s advice to Cadets who will come through CST in the future.

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