By: Julia Galli and Cristina Betz
“Everything’s faster. Everything’s quicker,” Cadet Nathaniel Stone from North Carolina State University, said. “The biggest difference really, is planning for unpredictability, which is a really hard thing to do.”
After completing Field Training Exercise (FTX) I: Panther, 11th Regiment, Advanced Camp, Cadets moved on to FTX II: Grizzly, where their newly developed skills were put to the test.
Having just executed a successful attack, Stone discussed the most significant difference between Panther and Grizzly.
“When doing Panther…they really just kind of see if you have the fundamentals down,” Stone said. “Whereas Grizzly, it’s more of a test really to see where you’re at…are you still able to lead, develop, and achieve in times of stress?”
While some Cadets may find the increased pressure to perform well in FTX II overwhelming, Stone has enjoyed the challenge.
“I love the stress,” Stone said. “I think that’s the best part of it is just kind of being able to actually put yourself in that position, like, see how you react.”
With such an intense atmosphere, Stone emphasized the importance of adapting to the environment and supporting one another under demanding circumstances.
“Biggest thing I think we realized is you can only control what you can control, you know, your attitude, your morale, how you react to people that are stressed out, and just helping each other,” Stone said.
While Stone acknowledged the improvement within his squad’s communication, Cadet Joshua Gonzalez from Texas A&M University, recognized the hard work required to reach such a point, addressing the difficult nature of developing a sense of unity among a diverse group of individuals.
“I think what was most challenging, honestly, was the team cohesion,” Gonzalez said. “All of us come from different schools, and I think just bringing all these ideas together into one uniform idea, and making this one uniform platoon was challenging at first.”
With that, Gonzalez understood that this is a common obstacle for teams at Cadet Summer Training (CST), highlighting one vital piece of advice for navigating the broad range of perspectives brought together during FTX.
“Just be open minded,” Gonzalez said. “Incorporating each other’s ideas, not being rude to one another, just being, you know, one team, because all of us are going to end up serving under the same Army, and all of us are going to be commissioned as second lieutenants.”