By Alex Mclaughlin
Photo By: Erica Lafser
FORT KNOX, Kentucky—
Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox has been an experience which has tested the resolve of cadets from all corners of the United States.
The constantly changing training schedule and difficult training conditions have been demanding.
However, this has not stopped 8th Regt. cadets from adapting to the situation and proving themselves in the classroom and in the field.
Platoon operations see the cadets take on a host of pre-determined scenarios that give cadets the opportunity to display everything they have learned during their ROTC careers. Leadership, communication and critical-thinking skills—they are all tested during this week long field training exercise.
The cadets know they are being evaluated, but despite the seriousness of the training cadets arrive excited for the opportunity and ready to conquer the task at hand.
In 8th Regt. an optimistic atmosphere is tangible. Cadets know graduation is right around the corner.
William Nolan, ROTC cadet at University of South Alabama in Mobile, said since his platoon has been together he has watched them grow and learn together during their time at LDAC. Their platoon operation training improves every day.
“We spent about 20 days prior to platoon operations together,” Nolan said. “We knew our strengths and weaknesses coming into this. We were focused at Cultural Awareness training, so we were already in the mindset for this. The teamwork we have makes everything run very smoothly.”
Nolan said the relationships they have built at LDAC and the trust they have in each other is what leads them to success.
“We created our special teams based on the leadership skills we knew each other had developed,” Nolan said. “We put people in positions where they could succeed so we know we can trust each other to do their jobs out in the field.”
Stanton Ragland, ROTC cadet at University Missouri at Kansas City, said it is this prior planning that keeps their morale high and focused on the mission. As the days go by, the positives keep coming for him and his platoon.
“When you work as a team, things are easier,” Ragland said. “Now that the weather is cooling off, morale and motivation is increasing even more.
Ragland made commissioning as an officer in the Army one of several goals he has set for himself and he knows that achievement draws closer day by day.
“Ever since I was young, becoming an officer in the Army has been a dream of mine,” Ragland said. “It is a lot of hard work, but the reward of completing this training is great.”