Advanced Camp at Cadet Summer Training on Fort Knox, Ky is a rigorous 37-day camp full of complex and challenging training events, designed to assess a Cadet’s ability to demonstrate proficiency in basic officer leadership tasks. Having any prior knowledge or experience would be most advantageous to have in this stressful training environment.
Well this is exactly what Cadet Kanesha McGraw possesses. McGraw attends Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama where she’s been studying the same concepts taught here at Advanced Camp for the past two years. McGraw is also prior enlisted. She is currently in her third year of service as a 94Y, an Automatic Test Systems Operator and Maintainer, in the National Guard.
McGraw, originally from Selma, Alabama, enlisted in the National Guard immediately after highschool. She attended basic training and AIT about two years ago. That’s when she decided she wanted to attend Marion.
“I was at drill one day and we decided to tour Marion and there were many cadets telling us about the opportunity and it was something new so I was like, ‘This could be different,’” McGraw said. “I knew that I always wanted to be in the Army. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I never thought about being an officer until I toured the school and heard about the program.”
Marion Military Institute is the premier Military College of Alabama. Marion is a public military junior college and one of the nation’s oldest. All the staff working at the school are retired from one of the five branches of service. This school prepares Cadets for life in the military no matter what branch they may choose.
“Our typical schedule for a ROTC Cadet from 0600 to 0700 we have pt,” McGraw said. “Then classes start no earlier than 8 o’clock. We have a formation at 12 o’clock and we also have a formation at 1:15.”
The school houses about 400 students overall and has them divided into five companies denoted by Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo. Each company has battalion staff positions given to Cadets so they have a chance to practice their leadership skills. Cadet McGraw says that the purpose of Marion is to allow students to complete all the requirements to get their Associate’s degrees while teaching them leadership and military tactics.
There are clear differences between a military college and a regular one. For example, according to McGraw Cadets at Marion aren’t allowed to have parties or leave campus whenever they want. These rules may seem strict, but McGraw believes her experience attending a military institute has prepared her more than her peers.
“I do appreciate the experience because it prepares you for things like this,” McGraw said. “Most of my knowledge that I gained from school really made me have an advantage over my peers and it also allows me to help them.”
Following her graduation from Marion, McGraw hopes to major in cyber security at her next college or university. Eventually she wants cyber security to be her career in the Army.