As Cadet Summer Training (CST) graduation approaches for the Cadets of 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp, they have traded in the comfort of their barracks for one final iteration of Field Training Exercises (FTX).
With that, Cadet Melanie Williams, from Grand Valley State University, and Cadet Ty Wesenyak, from Virginia Military Institute, have made a much bigger sacrifice, as they celebrate their 21st and 22nd birthdays out in the field.
“It’s worth it. This is something I really want to do with my career and with my life, so missing my 21st birthday, while it may seem in the moment something that’s unfortunate, it makes up for it,” Williams said.
She expressed that training through her birthday has only accentuated the idea that adaptability is key to making the most out of difficult situations.
“You just got to work with it, go with the flow, know that you can’t control what’s going to happen next,” Williams said.
While acknowledging that the circumstances are not ideal, she remained positive about the experience.
“I’ve got a great group of people here to celebrate with anyway,” Williams said.
Wesenyak shared a similar mindset, expressing that although he would love to celebrate, he understands the immense value of the training they are conducting.
“This is the final step in our training before we actually go into the actual Army, and we definitely need to be able to be prepared for that, just so we can effectively lead other people, and they’re able to rely on us,” Wesenyak said.
Wesenyak emphasized the magnitude of maintaining high morale throughout the affair, recognizing that the nature of which he handled this inconvenience would set the tone for the remainder of CST and his future Army career.
“Keep your head up and just continue to push forward, because not only are you relying on yourself to be able to push forward and be successful as a young individual leader, but you also have to think about the 35-40 plus other people that are trying to work with you and trying to progress as leaders as well,” Wesenyak said.
Although he could not be home for his birthday, he expressed his gratitude for having made new friends to spend the day with.
“My favorite thing about CST is 100 percent the people. The people make all of my experiences better and we feed off of each other,” Wesenyak said.
Ultimately, Wesenyak made it clear that turning 22-years-old in the field has only enhanced the camaraderie he shares with his fellow Cadets.
“We definitely help each other out and they’re definitely a blessing to have in environments like this,” Wesenyak said.