By: Jake McCollum
Fort Knox (July 30, 2015) – Time with family can be a rarity in the Army. Training events, deployments, duty stations – all can potentially remove soldiers from their hometowns and states and send them wherever duty calls. While this is a necessity, the Army recognizes the need for time with loved ones.
For 6th Regiment Cadet Initial Entry Training, that time is now.
Family Day is a time of rest and rejuvenation, the last event before graduation the following day. It is a time reserved for the cadets to catch up with their loved ones and for families to learn a little about the good work that is done at Cadet Summer Training. The day starts off with a welcome from the Regiment’s officers to the cadets’ parents at the Abrams Theater in the Patton Museum, a well-known tourist attraction behind the gates of Fort Knox.
Col. Andrew Burgotto, Commander of 6th Regiment CIET and Commander of the 3rd Brigade, US Army Cadet Command, addressed the families first.
“It is an honor to be addressing you all today,” Burgotto said. He described the training that 6th Regiment went through and explained the reasons for the different phases of training.
“Our job is to develop the most important weapon system an Army officer can have,” Burgotto said. “It’s right…between the ears.”
Lt. Col. James Lee, 6th Regiment’s Tactical Officer, praised the performance of 6th Regiment. “Every night we’d have conversations about the Cadets – your loved ones – they’re very impressive. I’m impressed with every single one of them.”
Lee described a 16 year old cadet that had braved the Kentucky heat to undertake CIET, far younger than any of his peers.
After the roughly hour long presentation that was followed by a question and answer session, the cadre opened doors at the front of the theatre and marched in the 223 cadets of 6th Regiment. After a Drill Sergeant’s command to fall out, the cadets rushed into the crowd to reuinite with their families.
While many embraced loved ones and instantly began catching up, some cadets lingered, their families unable to attend the event due to the distance of travel or other engagements. Their brothers and sisters took those that did not have loved ones with them off post to eat with their new Army families.
“Don’t be surprised if you have a few strap hangers when you take your cadets out to eat,” Lee told the parents with a smile just before 6th Regiment marched in.
Family Day rules allow cadets to change into civilian clothes and roam on or off post with their families. The only stipulations are that cadets must remain within 50 miles of Fort Knox and that they must report back to their Regimental Area no later than 9 p.m. Many cadets choose to go off post and explore the surrounding area; others remain and spend the day exploring the Fort with each other.
Due to graduate in roughly 24 hours, the cadets of 6th Regiment grow more and more excited to claim this milestone in their ROTC career: Cadet Initial Entry Training, complete.