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FORT KNOX, Ky. — Family Day has finally arrived for 1st Regiment Basic Camp, and it was filled with many smiles and tearful reunions.

Basic Camp Cadets have been here at Fort Knox for 30 days. In that time, this is the first time Cadets got to see their families again since they left home.

Families and Cadets embrace for the first time in weeks at Fort Knox, Ky. July 21, 2019. | Photo by Jacob Hempen, CST Public Affairs

Cadet James Graves, from White Haven Pennsylvania, said he had been counting down the days until this day. And that waking up today had felt weird.

“You’re always thinking about when you get to see them and counting down the days till that time,” The Temple University Cadet said. “It was so weird to wake up and not have to count down anything. It was happening.”

That moment when the door to the Waybur Theater opened, Graves said he couldn’t stop smiling.

“I just couldn’t stop smiling while we were standing in formation,” Graves said. “Then we had to do a squat bender, and I can honestly say I’ve never smiled that hard during any physical exercise we’ve done here. It was just all sorts of excitement and feelings rushing through my head. It was honestly just great to see them again.”

Families and Cadets embrace for the first time in weeks at Fort Knox, Ky. July 21, 2019. | Photo by Jacob Hempen, CST Public Affairs

Kayla Jordan, a St. Augustine University Cadet, was also counting down the days to see her family, and said she was hot, tired and ready to graduate. But she was also ready to spend time with them and eat “real” food.

“Yes, it is [good to see family], I missed them a bunch,” the Charlotte, North Carolina native said. “Now I going to get some real food. No more DFAC or MREs.”

And like her mother, Kimberly, Jordan said she was so excited when her family came out.

“I was just so excited,” Jordan said. “I started crying.”

“I was excited,” Kimberly said. “I was ready. We’ve talked, but not being in the same room.”

While most parents may be concerned about their child during their time here, Kimberly said she had no reason to worry.

“You know what, she’s a trooper so I wasn’t concerned,” Kimberly said. “She said she had strep throat and a tick bite, but, no, I wasn’t that concerned.”

Omari Wilson, Newberry College, reunites with his family after weeks of training at Fort Knox, Ky. July 21, 2019. | Photo by Jacob Hempen, CST Public Affairs

Cadet Omari Wilson, a Fayetteville, North Carolina native, said that he was very excited to see his family again and described that moment when the door opened.

“We were actually at half-right face,” the Newberry University Cadet said. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that many exercises in front of my family.”

Wilson also commented on his time here at Fort Knox, and what changes he’s noticed after finishing Basic Camp.

“I feel like I accomplished more here, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot,” Wilson said. “I’m just ready to see what I can do from here down the road.”

This feeling wasn’t only noticed by him, but his mother, Carol, as well.

“That’s my baby boy,” Carol said. “So, getting to see him here today and all grown up. He’s a bit more open now. He’s usually a laid-back kind of guy, so I see this is going to bring out the better in him.”

 

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