Today 1st Regiment Basic Camp Cadets completed the second day of their first field training exercise (FTX).

Cadet Justin Ryan, from Tulane University, played the role of squad leader during his squad’s first mission this morning. Ryan said he was a little nervous because this is his first FTX, but he still enjoyed it. 

“One thing I like about FTX’s is it highlights both your weaknesses and your strengths,” Ryan said. “For me that’s beneficial because it gives me things I need to work on over the next couple of years so that I can better prepare myself for branch days and life in the military.”

1st Regiment Cadet prepares to close in on the enemy at the FTX at Basic Camp in Fort Knox, Kentucky, July 19, 2021. | Photo by Marissa Wells, CST Public Affairs Office.

FTXs can teach Cadets a lot. For example, they may learn how to tactically maneuver through the woods, how to practice effective communication or how to spot enemy targets. However, today Ryan learned something about himself.

“Strengths so far that I’ve identified in myself would be time management and just being able to identify what team players I can best utilize to successfully complete the mission,” Ryan said. “For weaknesses I definitely need to work more on field tactics. Other weaknesses I need to work more on are OPORDS.”

Cadet Courtland Roberts, from the University of Illinois Chicago, participated in an FTX with his highschool JROTC program, but it was nothing like what he experienced today. 

“It felt really realistic to what we’re trying to do in the future for those who are trying to become infantry,” Roberts said. “I just love the knowledge that the leaders and lieutenants gave us. It was honestly some of the best experiences they could give us.”

1st Regiment Cadets finish a mission at the FTX at Basic Camp in Fort Knox, Kentucky, July 19, 2021. | Photo by Marissa Wells, CST Public Affairs Office.

Roberts is self-described as soft spoken. Typically, he doesn’t sound off or talk loud so trying to give commands over the loud sounds of blank rounds during the FTX was a little difficult for him. But within the chaos, Roberts was able to find a new side of himself. 

“I think I really do well under pressure, like moving, making sure I’m not frozen in place when I hear gunshots,” Roberts said. “I’m trying my best to get to the next cover. I think that’s my biggest strength so far.”