FORT KNOX, Ky. – In Fort Knox, the sun rises promptly at 6:23 a.m. but for Second Regiment, Advanced Camp, this means that the majority of their 12-mile ruck march will be completed in the dark.
At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 25, Cadets were woken and instructed to get ready for their longest and farthest ruck march yet.
“We’ve conducted a four mile, six mile and eight mile ruck so far, complete with our 35 lb. rucksacks, weapons and helmets,” said Cadet Lerner Sarno, San Diego State University.
Accompanying Cadet Sarno was Cadet Leanne Lautzenhiser, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. “My feet hurt, my knees hurt and my shoulders hurt, but having a buddy here to keep me company helps me forget all of that,” said Sarno.
For many Cadets, completing the 12-mile ruck march proved to be surprisingly emotional. After spending days in the field where sleep is a luxury and where stress levels are high, today’s ruck march symbolized the last required event before their graduation from CST.
“CST has been challenging – mentally, physically and emotionally,” said Cadet Rachel Stubbs, Bethune-Cookman University. “There were times I broke down, times I just wanted to give up, but in the end it all paid off and I developed myself as a leader.”
While some Cadets spent their 12 miles reflecting on their time at CST, others thought about their motivation to cross the finish line in the allotted four hours.
“I’m walking the full 12 miles to see my mom at graduation,” said Cadet Kelly Cruthirds, University of South Alabama. “She’s my motivation.”
Something that also proved to help motivate the Cadets to finish within the four-hour time frame was the company of their Cadre during the 12 miles.
Throughout CST, Cadre have made it their mission to gain the trust of their Cadets, doing whatever it takes to show that they are here for them and to provide that extra push to get the Cadets to where they want to be. Whether it’s joining them in the CS chamber or accompanying them on their 12-mile march, the Cadre of CST have been with the Cadets every step of the way.
“It means a lot,” said Cadet Sarno. “As a leader you want to be in the front, so the fact that they’re doing it with us shows that they’re here to help us accomplish anything.”
Cadets from Second Regiment, Advanced Camp will graduate from CST this Friday, June 30.