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Fort Knox, Ky. – Cadets from 6th Regiment, Basic Camp, practiced tactics and communication during simulated combat situations with squad formation drills, Aug. 5, 2019.

Cadets from 6th Regiment. Basic Camp, listen to feedback from ROTC Cadre after a squad formation drill, Fort Knox, Ky., Aug. 5, 2019. | Photo by Kyle Crawford, CST Public Affairs Office

The Cadets will be out in the woods later this week for their culminating training event, the Field Training Exercise (FTX). Squad formation drills help Cadets put into practice the tactics they’ve recently learned and to get adjusted to operating out in the field.

The squad formation drills involved reacting to indirect fire and making contact. Both of these situations are hectic and communication is key for success. Cadet Echo Kent, a student at Norwich University, reflected on the challenges of keeping formation and accountability throughout the chaos of reacting to indirect fire.

Cadet Echo Kent, Norwich University, rushes forward during an indirect fire squad formation drill, Fort Knox, Ky., Aug. 5, 2019. | Photo by Kyle Crawford, CST Public Affairs Office

“The most challenging part is going in the same direction and making sure you get all of your people,” Kent said. “Because, if you run ahead of everybody, and get there first, you don’t know who you’re missing.”

In addition, the Cadets also learned how to identify and communicate making contact. It came down to three important details. ‘50 meters, 12 o’clock, two enemies.’

“When reacting to contact, you follow the ‘Three D’s,” Kent said. “Distance, direction, and description. The first thing you want to yell is the distance…you’ll take a guess between 10-100 meters. Direction is going to be either 12, 3, 6, or 9 o’clock. Description is like saying ‘two enemies,’ or if you can get more descriptive, then you can go ahead.”

Cadet Umar Boone, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, moves forward during a squad formation drill, Fort Knox, Ky., Aug. 5, 2019. | Photo by Kyle Crawford, CST Public Affairs Office

The Cadets went through several iterations of squad formation drills to make sure they were on the way to developing these skills as second nature. Cadet Joshua Elliot, a student at Texas Tech University, said he enjoyed the drills and was excited to keep training in the field.

“I love the field,” Elliot said. “I grew up in the country, and since I’m in the city all the time at my university, it’s nice to come out here and be able to be in nature.”

“We’ve had a lot of fun out here,” Elliot said. “It’s very entertaining, but it’s also hard work.”

The Cadets of 6th Regiment, Basic Camp, will take on their first mission out at the FTX this Wednesday.

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