Last Updated: June 30th, 2023By Tags: , , ,

FORT KNOX, Ky.- 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets completed a simulated raid mission as part of their platoon tactics training during their situational training exercises, Fort Knox, Ky., June 18, 2023. 

Cadet Faith Miller, from University of Texas at Austin, acted as one of the squad leaders during the training exercises. 

“We are out here running platoon lanes,” Miller said. “We’re getting ready to go into Panther and Grizzly phase. So walking through them, making sure everybody’s comfortable in the platoon and working as a team and all that good stuff.”

Cadet Faith Miller from University of Texas at Austin, 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp, listens to an after action report during the situational training exercise, Fort Knox, Ky., June 18, 2023. Cadets complete various simulated missions out in the field during Cadet Summer Training. | Erinn Finley, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.

These training exercises in the field are one of the last training events Cadets have to do before graduation. Miller said she felt that their previous training at Cadet Summer Training prepared Cadets really well for the field.  

“We’ve gone over a lot of things in depth, what we went over in our MS [military science] classes, so it’s nice, if you didn’t have that teaching, if your program does different things, everybody at least has a very baseline level of knowledge that we can go into these lanes [STX] with,” Miller said. “And luckily, everybody has a couple of people who are really knowledgeable in the platoons, as well. So it’s been really helpful to get classes within our platoons.”

Miller said the training has been very difficult, and she has developed good camaraderie with her peers. 

“After the lane  is always way more fun than during the lane,” Miller said. “It’s hard, but it’s rewarding.”

Although for many Cadets such as Miller, this is their first experience with the Army and Fort Knox, that is not the case for other Cadets.  Cadet Kyle Coughenour from Methodist University, completed his basic training at Fort Knox almost 14 years ago. 

“I went to basic training July 13 of 2009, so 14 years ago, almost to the month, came here to Fort Knox for basic training,” Coughenour said. 

Cadet Kyle Coughenour from Methodist University, 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp, helps maintain a secure position during a situational training exercise, Fort Knox, Ky., June 18, 2023. Cadets completed a simulated raid on an enemy camp for one of their missions during Cadet Summer Training. | Erinn Finley, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.

Coughenour also said the training in CST helped prepare Cadets for the field. 

“I think that there have been a couple of instructors that have been pretty passionate about it,” Coughenour said. “They’ve really highlighted a couple things that weren’t really taught at the universities and kind of boiled them down to the real basics and kind of made us reconsider how we approached it. And I think that’s really helped us out in certain instances as far as moving into the STX lanes and platoon size tactics.”

Coughenour said he thought CST provides Cadets the opportunity to figure out their leadership style. 

“I think that it’s a really good opportunity to to see the different types of personalities that you will be dealing with in the Army, the different types of backgrounds that people are coming from, whether it is active duty, whether it is straight out of you know, Cadet land, just or as far as ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] programs and trying to mold your or develop your leadership philosophy here I think is a good opportunity to do so,” Coughenour said. 

During his enlistment, Coughenour was deployed multiple times. He said something he enjoys about the Army is the variety of jobs. 

“The Army offers you the opportunity to have a different job,” Coughenour said. “You don’t have to make the military whatever it makes you, you can make of it what you want to make of it. This is the third time I’ve switched my job in 14 years. You’re not stuck doing the same job every single time.” 

Even during the day-to-day work, Coughenour said there is a lot of variety within the job.

“Like I was in Afghanistan able to, you know, I’m working in a TOC [tactical operations center] one day, and then, we get invited out, and we’re shooting Carl Gustaf rocket launchers on a range with Australian Special Forces.” 

Another aspect of the job, Coughenour has enjoyed is the opportunity to see different parts of the world such as, Northwest Africa, Eastern Africa, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Afghanistan and more. 

“I was able to work with civilians, government, nongovernmental organizations, people within our embassies,” Coughenour said. “It’s just been a really awesome experience, and I have zero regrets of serving 14 years and continue to serve. I would like to serve an additional 10 at this point.” 

A 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadet applies camouflage paint during a situational training exercise, Fort Knox, Ky., June 18, 2023. Situational training exercises help Cadets learn to lead and complete simulated missions in the field during Cadet Summer Training. | Erinn Finley, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.

 Coughenour advised future Cadets to be open to possibilities upon joining the Army. 

“Stay flexible, stay adaptable,” Coughenour said. “Don’t make a decision about the rest of your career, immediately coming into the military. See how you grow and develop with the leaders around you. If you have a bad leader when you first come into the military, don’t think that’s going to be the case forever.”

Miller also advised future Cadets to be open minded when joining ROTC. 

“My first lab sucked,” Miller said. “It was awful, and I felt so out of place, and I felt so stupid, and I had no idea what was going on. But it gets better, and it gets easier, and you learn eventually, but it all helps, and the more comfortable you get, the more you enjoy it because you know what’s going on.” 

Coughenour said he’s met great leaders in the Army. 

“You will definitely have some of the best leaders; you’ll ever have in your life, the best mentors,” Coughenour said. “I’ve met some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my life in the Army, several especially within the Special Operations community. And always aim higher than what you think you can go, do not ever limit yourself. Always continue pushing for what you think that you’re capable of doing.”