FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp (CLC) grow as individuals and future Army officers during the two week long Field Training Exercise (FTX).
Cdt. Pamela Lewes, University of California, Berkeley, believes their training does more than create officers.
“I think this training is about more than becoming an officer. It’s about developing character through adversity, problem solving and teamwork. We learn how to develop discipline and character; find innovative and creative solutions to complex problems; and endure trials.”
One of the ways the Cadets are tested on these skills is by being put into leadership positions during the exercise. Cdt. Wyatt Thomas, California Polytechnic Institute State University, talks about his first experience in a leadership position.
“It has really taught me to think outside the box. One of our Cadre made a good point when he said, ‘When you go into the Army as a private, they tell you what to do and you do it, but as an officer you’re taught to think.’ Getting a leadership position out here has put me on my toes and required me to use the critical thinking I’ve been developing while at school. It’s made me think in ways I haven’t had to before.”
Capt. Francis D’Allura, observer, trainer, mentor during FTX training, stated about his Cadets.
“The growth they’ve had in just the last week and a half has been immense. Some of them are finally hitting that breaking point where they realize this is what the Army is like. They’re starting to embrace it deep down and realize ‘I have to push myself if this is really what I want to do.’”
Lewes recalls how she has kept going even when she has wanted to quit.
“I’ve learned to use tenacity, perseverance and positivity to get me through tough times. I remember there were many days where I wanted to go home or have a negative attitude because I was done, but through my learned tenacity and perseverance; I was able to overcome it.”
Even D’Allura sees how Cadets have struggled through the training.
“Most of the challenge is mental. They’re uncomfortable and away from what they know. It scares some, some are pushing through it and some are going to find in the next couple of weeks if this is really for them.”
He wants to remind the Cadets to, “remain confident and trust your leaders.” If they do this, they will overcome and endure what they must.
In terms of personal growth, Lewes thinks this training can be beneficial to all.
“I’m grateful to have this opportunity to grow by challenging myself. I know I will come out a stronger person. I think I’ll look back and think that this is an experience anyone, civilian or otherwise, would be lucky to have.”