FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadet Summer Training Basic Camp is about taking first and second year Cadets and teaching them the basic skills they need to become leaders. For some, the basic knowledge exists, next comes the ability to pull the pin from the grenade.
Cdt. Nick Stiker, from Boston College, has come to Basic Camp with the fundamental skills and physical abilities, now he is tasked with learning the finer skills of hand grenades, returning fire and assaulting an enemy bunker.
With most senior ROTC battalions being centered around active military bases, there are often opportunities for most Cadets to practice these exercises before arriving at camp. However with universities such as Boston College being centered in inner city surroundings, there is little practical training that can be done outside of CST.
For Cadets like Stiker, this adds an additional layer of challenge. Stiker is a rising junior at Boston College, with the Physical Training scores and grades of a seasoned Cadet, yet it is his resilience that makes him stand out from his platoon at Basic Camp.
Prior to the training at the Hand Grenade Assault Course, 6th Regiment Basic Camp had come from all night Land Navigation exercise, which drains both the body and mind in terms of energy. By placing Cadets onto the grenade range directly afterwards, it becomes a test of willpower and strength of resilience.
Yet, with Non-Commissioned Officers yelling both directions and corrections, Stiker was one of the few of his platoon who neither flinched nor showed signs of backing down in the face of this challenge. He equates his success back to the bonds he has made among his battle buddies.
“The biggest thing here is communication,” says Stiker when asked about the mission. “With the Non-Commissioned Officer’s yelling at us, blanks going off, if you don’t have communication with your partner it’s not going to be a mission success. Having that good communication and teamwork will lead to a good result.”
Back home at Boston College Stiker is not only a full-time Cadet, but a Division 1 Varsity Lacrosse player for the Eagles, and a top student.
Resilience in the face of adversity runs in the family, as Stiker also comes from a family of three boys, all proud members of the United States military. With such a strong sense of determination and drive it will be unsurprising to see Stiker rise as another successful military story in this trio.