FORT KNOX, Ky. – 4th Regiment, Basic Camp Cadets graduated on Brooks Field August 6 after completing Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Ky. Cadets completed numerous exercises to build themselves not only as leaders and teammates, but also to build their confidence in themselves and each other.
After graduating and officially completing their training, Cadets expressed their feelings after walking off of Brooks Field. One Cadet was excited to demonstrate their skills learned throughout camp.
“Just feeling really excited to get out of here and learn with all this knowledge that I’ve learned since I’ve been here. This is my first time doing anything ROTC. So, I’ve learned a whole lot of new things and I get to put it forward later on,” stated Cadet Chelsea Petzker, from Kent State University.
Cadets also expressed that there were personal challenges they were presented with throughout their time at Fort Knox.
“It’s really good having us come together and deal with people from different backgrounds. No matter what you do, you’re a team first and that can be really challenging at times,” said Cadet Kutter McNeil, Suffolk University.
Another Cadet discovered difficult times create moments of personal growth.
“There were definitely difficult times, but, for the most part, everything was very bearable. I learned a lot about myself in leadership and being able to push myself physically,” said Cadet Hannah Hancock, a student at The Ohio State University.
Petzker understood that these experiences throughout Basic Camp furthered her leadership skills overall by building her confidence in more ways than one.
“I feel more accomplished, like I could lead somebody. I feel like before I came here, I was a little bit timid and stuff. With all of the different things we did here to push my confidence, I feel like it definitely built mine as a better leader,” affirmed Petzker. “When we did the confidence course, the fact that I did it completely fine and I could get myself up to the top of the 55-foot rock wall was surprising to me. It was an amazing feeling once I got to the top. Just like, ‘yeah, I did this.’ Definitely a confidence boost.”
Cadets offered pieces of advice for future Basic Camp Cadets. Some of the advice consisted of making friends and battle buddies with the right people to strengthen the camp experience.
“Expect anything. Don’t come in thinking it’s going to be the easiest thing in the world, but also don’t come in thinking it’s going to be the worst thing in the world,” said Hancock. “If you surround yourself with the right people, it’ll be fun.”
Another Cadet suggested to keep moving forward, even through confusion.
“Stay confident. Always keep moving forward. Even though you don’t know what’s going on, that’s okay. Nobody else does. They just act like they do,” suggested Cadet Daniel Schwertner, University of Texas at San Antonio.
One Cadet pointed out that the diverse backgrounds create a challenge, but the task is to be embraced.
“You really just have to stay grounded and realize that even though they’re strangers, you’re a stranger here too,” examined McNeil.
With that final note, Cadets finally parted company with one another by leaving one final message to their fellow Cadets and battle buddies.
“It’s been a great time. I hope everyone does well in their school year. Hopefully, I’ll see most of them in Advanced Camp next year,” said McNeil.
“I love you guys. It’s been a journey for all of us and I’m really thankful I got to do it with everyone in this regiment,” said Petzker. “It’s a great group of people and I’m honored to be able to go through it with them.”