FORT KNOX, Ky. — The Dunagan Teamwork Development Course is comprised of six obstacles. Each obstacle has a scenario for Cadets to attempt and complete with only the materials at hand.

However, as the 3rd Regiment, Basic Camp Cadets soon realized, the course develops teamwork and more but not always through success.

Cadets set up a pulley system to help move their simulated casualty across the “One Rope Bridge” at Fort Knox, Ky. July 19, 2019.| Photo by Jacob Hempen, CST Public Affairs

Cadet Nicholas Cramer, of Omaha, Nebraska, and his group went through three of the six obstacles. Unfortunately they were unable to complete any, but that failure wasn’t Cramer’s, or his buddies, take away.

“Our first course was a sort of ropes course with a casualty,” the Wayne State College Cadet said. “And after failing and failing, we learned what worked and what didn’t work, which we could then apply to our next task.”

Cramer went on to say that courses like this help hone in on communication and planning skills. The skills they can continue to build upon and eventually reach that goal of success.

With the help of his battle buddies, Cadet Sean Webb, Marion Military Institute, moves the wooden plank into place to cross the simulated quicksand below him at Fort Knox, Ky. July 19, 2019. | Photo by Jacob Hempen, CST Public Affairs

Cadet Joshua Taylor, from East Carolina University, echoed his battle buddy’s comments on communication building. He also went on to add more about this course’s effect on team morale.

“I think all the activities here bring us closer together,” Taylor said. “Just like all of the things that we have struggled through, like the gas chamber, boosts our morale because we’ve all suffered together. We all know what each other have been through and have come out the end together.”

After two and a half weeks of being with each other, these Cadets have gone through much. But there’s always more, and being able to know that your buddy is next to you and able push you forward — that knowledge will be a big help when facing the tasks ahead.

Cadet Christin Gerwig, from Marshall University, and her battle buddy Cadet Rebecca Athman, from St. John University, had a different take on what this course taught.

Cadets begin their planning phase as to how they will complete the “River Crossing” obstacle at Fort Knox, Ky. July 19, 2019.| Photo by Jacob Hempen, CST Public Affairs

“I think this gave us a better idea of where to see who fits into what role amongst the squads and where people fit the best,” Gerwig said. “All of us have this mentality of ‘we have a great idea’, and I think that can make it difficult for us to step back and just listen.”

“In the moment we might bite at each other’s necks, but afterward we can all sit down and laugh about it,” Athman added. “I think it’s that experience and pushing through it that brings us all closer.”

The 3rd Regiment Cadets will be going to the field next for Field Training Exercises (FTXs). A place that is built to test these bonds and lessons, but these Cadets are more than ready to face it head on.


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