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

FORT KNOX,Ky.- 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets completed the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear phase of their Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 19, 2023. 

“Today we got to experience CBRN and learn all about the branch, but also what they do and how they help the forces throughout the Army,” said Cadet Brandon Fox, Texas Christian University. “And then we also got to learn to trust our equipment by trying out the gas chamber, which was really fun.” 

Cadets were taught about how to react to various forms of attacks, the gear needed to protect them, and went through a chamber filled with CS gas. Some Cadets felt apprehensive before completing the training. 

2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets help each other learn to put on their safety equipment during the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training, Fort Knox, Ky., June 19, 2023. Cadre instructed Cadets on how to put on their equipment, decontaminate after exposure, and how to respond to various types of warfare. | Erinn Finley, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.

Cadet Gabriel Hamilton-Canabal from Western Kentucky University, said he felt nervous going into the chamber because of a previous experience during basic training. 

“I really had a hard time getting through the recovery process of the arm swinging, the coughing, all the stuff that they made us do while we were in the gas chamber itself, like singing the Soldier’s Creed, the Army song,” Hamilton-Canabal said. 

Despite its difficulties, Fox said he thought it was good that the training at CST, including CBRN, helps Cadets grow.

“So many of us just at school and in life in general don’t get tested very often and get asked to do things that are just uncomfortable, so I think these past few days really serve as something to step out of your comfort zone,” Fox said. 

Additionally, Fox said these lessons will be important during their time as leaders. 

A noncommissioned officer adds a CS capsule in the chamber, which Cadets must go through as part of their chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear training, Fort Knox, Ky., June 19, 2023. Cadets learn to use their safety gear, respond to various types of attacks, and then go through the chamber, removing their masks, to learn to trust their equipment. | Erinn Finley, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.

“Sometimes as a leader, you’re gonna need to take that leap of faith or you’re gonna have to trust your equipment, you’re gonna have to lead from the front and just show people,” Fox said. 

While Fox’s experience has taught him about leadership, Hamilton-Canabal said he feels his experience has helped him grow. 

 “I feel like it’s a great experience because I’m a very talkative person, but when I came here, I knew that I had to tone it down just a little bit,” Hamilton-Canabal said. “I’m just watching and absorbing everything like a sponge.” 

Hamilton-Canabal said he is trying to prepare for being out in the field, by gaining all the information he can now from those around him. 

“I’ve asked my peers who are prior enlisted, who have been in the infantry, who have been in other MOS [military occupational specialties] like cavalry, armored; and then I ask my Cadre any questions I have when it’s one on one,” Hamilton-Canabal said. “And I just try to get all the information I can get, all the experiences I can, to make sure that when it’s my time to perform, I know exactly what I need to do.”

There are many reasons Cadets choose to push themselves through the challenges of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. Both of these Cadets expressed a passion for the Army and military service that started when they were young. 

“My dad was in the Army for 24 years,” Fox said. “My whole life was kind of centered around that. He retired when I was a sophomore in high school, but we stayed in the area of a military installation and so everything I did was always kind of around this.”

Fox talked about how his experiences around the Army as a child motivated him to join ROTC. 

2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets clean their gas masks after completing their chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear training, Fort Knox, Ky., June 19, 2023. Cadets first learn about their gear, how to respond to attacks, and how to decontaminate before they go into a chamber filled with CS gas to learn to trust their equipment. | Erinn Finley, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.

“Growing up, it was just such a great thing for my family and meeting people,” Fox said. “So I’ve always wanted to give back to the country and give back to the people that did it for me when I was a kid and the people that did it for them and so on.”

Hamilton-Canabal said his desire to join the infantry started when he was a kid, watching historical-war movies with his dad and brother.

“It’s been a passion of mine since I was very little,” Hamilton-Canabal said. “We watched a lot of old war movies and that was what we would spend our time doing and that just put an image into my mind of me being a Soldier, so I carried it with me to when I was older and it’s been what I wanted to do for a really long time.”

Whatever their reason for joining ROTC, Fox advised Cadets to put themselves in the best position in order to succeed.

“I think the advice for somebody that is in ROTC and is looking to come to CST is, do your best to prepare, because when you get here, you’re stepping into leadership roles and people are counting on you,” Fox said. “You want to put yourself in the best position to make sure others succeed with you.”

Hamilton-Canabal said despite all the stress of Advanced Camp, he has noticed the good examples of leadership within his regimental Cadre. 

“I asked them both [Master Sgt. Points, and Lt. Col Kelvinton ] advice on what it’s like to be a senior leader or to be in the infantry and they told me that just take it one day at a time, to be calm under pressure, and just never overcomplicate things,” Hamilton-Canabal said. “So I’m gonna try to take that to heart, and apply it to my everyday life and hopefully, with those lessons that I’ve learned here, I can take them with me and have a long, great time in the Army.”

Although good leadership enhances Cadets experience, Fox said having a good mindset is very important for CST. 

“Camp can be really fun, it’s all what you make it,” Fox said. “Your experience is up to you and how you decide to carry yourself and prepare for it. And if you do that right, you will have a great time, so go Army.”