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Packing their bags and moving to Fort Knox alone, Cadets almost have no choice but to become good friends with one another before Cadet Summer Training Advanced Camp ends. After all, they do everything and spend nearly every minute together during camp at Fort Knox, Ky. 

A Cadet stands to throw a practice hand grenade during 3rd Regiment’s test rounds. For the hand grenade test, which were practice hand grenades, the Cadets had to throw the grenades within a certain vicinity of the target in order to pass the test during Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Ky on June 9, 2021.
Photo by Anna Pray, Cadet Summer Training Public Affairs Office

During a hand grenades exercise and test on June 9, 2021, the closeness between the Cadets in 3rd Regiment, Charlie Company, was obvious. 

When Cadets were lined up in the testing lanes to throw the practice hand grenades, there were cheers coming from behind them by others in the platoon who were watching and waiting to be tested themselves. It noticeably motivated and helped the ones who were being tested. 

“We all try to keep each other pumped up and amped so we can all see the end goal together,” said Cadet Morgan Caselberry, from Jacksonville State University in Alabama.

Even before the test, Cadets were helping each other practice and perfect their positioning and aiming. 

“I’m a very big people person,” said Cadet Djounelle Tolo, from James Madison University. “I always want to help others.”

Bonding aside, the purpose of the training was to give Cadets realistic practice with grenades, but to also practice hand-eye coordination. The Cadre made sure to offer advice and give constructive criticism when Cadets were practicing their grenade throws. 

“The training was very engaging,” said Caselberry. “I learned new things that I haven’t learned before. I also had a great time being out here and doing the events with my platoon.”

The hand grenades used during 3rd Regiments hand grenade familiarization exercise during Advanced Camp on June 9, 2021 at Fort Knox, Ky were not real. | Photo by Anna Pray, Cadet Summer Training Public Affairs Office

One Cadet mentioned just how supportive his platoon is within his company. 

“When we change PL (platoon leader) and PSG (platoon sergeant), we are clapping and cheering them on,” said Cadet Jakob Jasperson, from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. “If we have problems, we talk it out.”

One aspect that is not taught at Advanced Camp, but ends up being critical, is learning how to become and work together as a team. 

Cadets are taking advantage of those bonds to help motivate one another, according to Cadet Caselberry.

“One thing I hope to get out of it [Advanced Camp] is to be a better leader, but also to be a better follower too,” said Cadet Christian Arnett, from the University of Iowa. “You know, we’re all here training to be leaders, but an important part of being a leader is being a follower and knowing when to talk and when to listen. Advanced Camp is a great place to do that.”