FORT KNOX, Ky. – 6th Regiment, Basic Camp Cadets examined their potential future career paths during Branch Orientation at Keyes Park August 14, 2019, during Cadet Summer Training.
“We’re going around to all of the various branches, 17 in total, of the Army and we’re just seeing which ones we might be interested in, learning more, and, for me especially, I know very little about the Army and what the branches do. So, I’m just taking this as an opportunity to dive into a bunch of them and learn a bunch of stuff,” explained Cadet Reiss Becker, a student at Duke University.
The Cadets were not only learning about the branches of the Army, but also what will be expected of them should they continue to Advanced Camp and commission as second lieutenants after graduating.
“We’re learning about which branches would best suit us when we actually graduate and commission,” stated Cadet Justin Broussard, Northwestern State University. “We can learn where we’re going to be, how we’re going to do our jobs, what we’re going to do as lieutenants, and how to respect our Soldiers that are below us, respect our NCOs who will be helping us.”
Basic Camp Cadets find this event essential, especially because many of them are new to the Army.
“This is probably the most important event I’ve been to in my ROTC career. I’m enjoying it, because, honestly, I want to branch AG, which is Adjutant General. I love helping people and, once I get to a certain point, if I’m still interested in a military career, I’m going to switch to Civil Affairs and go from there,” listed Broussard.
Another Cadet agreed that this event was crucial to further their Army careers.
“It’s very important. Because, before Basic Camp, I didn’t know anything at all. I’ve learned so much through Basic Camp and Branch Orientation. Every tent that I go through, I just learn more and more about what that branch is about,” agreed Cadet Stephanie Alcy, a student from Florida A&M University. “The purpose is to just educate us. Some people don’t know their career paths and everything. Some people don’t know what they want to do. So, this basically helps us make that decision and be firm, saying ‘this is what I want to do.’”
Some Cadets reflected on their reason why they joined their school’s ROTC program after reflecting on what they wanted to do and how they arrived at their conclusion.
“I wanted to take more out of my college experience. I really thought that something was missing, like I wanted to kick it up a notch and have something interesting to do in my 20s when I graduate,” said Becker. “The idea of entering a civilian job immediately just seemed boring and I wanted to try the military because it’s sort of been an aspiration of mine. This is living out that dream.”
The Cadets also examined what they were going to bring back to their home universities after graduating from Basic Camp. One Cadet recognized respect as the key message.
“The thing I’m going to tell my regiment when I get back to school is that the Army is great. The training is great. Everything in the Army is great,” said Broussard. “The thing I would really suggest people to learn is learn your models and also learn from your NCOs and your elders in the Army. You have sergeants who have been in for 15 to 20 years and they know more than us.”
Another Cadet recognized that the experience could potentially be a once in a lifetime opportunity for some people.
“It’s been really cool. I think the best part has been the people I’ve met. I met this kid named Cooper from Alabama and I remember we were sitting around eating our MREs as we do and he just kind of stopped, looked at us all kind of funny, and said, ‘Isn’t it funny how we’re all from different places, but we get along so well.’ I was kind of like, ‘Yeah Cooper, it is,’” stated Becker. “There’s people here from Puerto Rico, Guam, Alabama, California like me, and people all around. It’s just been amazing to meet so many people of all stripes and colors and learn all the same things with them. It’s fostered a real sense of comradery. It’s fun.”