“Look down, but hold your head up, wipe your eyes, keep going,” Cadet Shariana Freeman, from The Fort Valley State University, said.
This advice was given to the Cadets of 3rd Regiment, Basic Camp, as they strapped on their rucksacks and set off on a 10-kilometer foot march in the pouring rain.
Although this march served as the last training exercise standing between 3rd Regiment Cadets and graduation, the weather conditions ensured that it would be no simple task.
“Honestly, me personally, I thought I couldn’t do it,” Freeman said. “You can’t see, there’s stuff in your eyes, you’re just unmotivated.”
Freeman spoke of how challenges of this nature were common throughout Cadet Summer Training (CST), recalling her first experience with field training and the doubt she overcame in her ability to complete the exercise.
“I’ve really seen myself grow. I personally came here for discipline, and I feel like I earned it,” Freeman said.
Although unsure in her abilities at the beginning of the ruck, Freeman’s mindset was soon altered once again as the strenuous conditions provided aid in establishing a sense of unity, enthusiasm, and high morale.
“I was tired…but the rain and the cadences, like it motivated me to keep going,” Freeman said.
Freeman suggested that the cadences add a dimension of enjoyment to unpleasant scenarios, especially when they relate to the conditions as well as the cadence, “In the Early Morning Rain,” did during their roughly six-mile trek.
Cadet Jayden Fraiman, from New York University, shared a similar perspective on the morning’s events.
“The six-mile ruck back was pretty fun, especially with the rain. I think it made it more enjoyable,” Fraiman said. “The rain forced us to kind of build our morale, and cohesion today was just on point.”
Along with increased liveliness and harmony, Fraiman acknowledged additional benefits to training in unfavorable weather circumstances, recognizing that it makes for a more well-rounded officer.
“I think that it’s good to get some training in both like garrison and austere environments. So, having like another challenge thrown at you is really awesome,” Fraiman said.
With this in mind, Fraiman felt content with the experience, and mentioned his eagerness to continue broadening his knowledge back at his home program.
“I’m really excited to get back home, get some good food, and get back to training at school,” Fraiman said.