By Sgt. Elizabeth Cole, Public Affairs Specialist, 372nd, Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Fort Knox, Ky. (June 5, 2015) – 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo. has deployed five times in the past 12 years, so they usually focus on combat operations; but this summer over one-third of their forces have the mission to help train nearly 9,000 future Army officers.
U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet Summer Training gives future Army officers the individual and unit leadership skills necessary to lead Soldiers. Instruction from seasoned Soldiers who have been on combat deployments, like those in 2nd Brigade, is critical.
Lt. Col. Paul Staeheli, commander of 2nd Brigade’s 2/12 Infantry and CST’s Task Force Lethal, knows how impactful instructors can be because he still remembers lessons from his platoon mentors during cadet training.
“It is very important that we have NCOs [noncommissioned officers] and officers who have that combat experience so they can provide context for the cadets,” said Staeheli.
“The piece I’m most proud of is not so much what we’re training, but who is doing the training,” said Staeheli. “There are PFCs [privates first class], specialists and corporals who are teaching some very complex topics.”
Staeheli explained his Soldiers are training the cadets on advanced concepts in marksmanship, physical fitness and nutrition.
It can be intimidating for these Soldiers to get up in front of a large group of cadets but to have the confidence and poise to give a class on complicated subject matter is impressive, he added.
In addition to helping train cadets, 2nd Brigade Soldiers will also be responsible for operating the post’s only Army-run dining facility and for feeding nearly 14,000 cadets and cadre for the duration of the CST operation.
Staff Sgt. Keith Williams, cook for Headquarters Headquarters Company, 704th Brigade Support Battalion and the dining facility manager for the CST, said he expects to serve up to 2,200 meals per day and has Soldiers working in rotating shifts 24 hours a day to prepare.
Williams explained he loves the fact that the Soldiers come to his dining facility to get full, motivated and reenergized to go back out for training.
“There’s no better feeling in the world than to be able to provide these Soldiers with the best quality meal,” said Williams.
2nd Brigade is providing a clear benefit to CST, but they are also learning and gaining invaluable training from this experience.
“We have a great opportunity, training wise, to come out of this exercise at a much higher level than we went in,” said LTC Staeheli. “It all ties back into our combat mission, so it’s all training for my Soldiers as well.”