FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from Fifth Regiment, Advanced camp spent their evening exploring the different branches the U.S. Army has to offer at Branch Orientation on Sunday, July 10.
Branch orientation slightly resembles a career fair, where men and women with years of service in a specific field come and speak about their experience and what Cadets can expect, should they choose to go a certain route.
However, where traditional job fairs are usually held in convention centers with rows of employers asking, “do you think you have what it takes?” branch orientation is devised into a three-hour rotation period where Cadets visit classrooms to learn more about their favorite branches.
Cadets spend about 50 minutes listening to cadre discuss the duties and expectations of a specific profession and then ask questions to see if a branch is right for them.
From Field Artillery to Chaplain, National Guard to Military Police, representatives from each branch came to speak with Cadets about where a certain career in the Army could take them.
“We’re bringing to them the realization of what actually happens in each branch,” said Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Jackson. “A lot of the information they’re hearing is first hand because we’ve actually experienced what it’s like to be in a certain branch.”
Jackson’s role at branch orientation is Master Trainer OCT (observer, controller, trainer). “I ensure the training is proper and is to our standard,” said Jackson. “I ensure the Cadets are getting the best training to help them lead once they’ve become 2nd Lts.”
With 18 years of experience in the air defense branch, Jackson said he’s more than happy to answer Cadet’s questions and share his passion for air defense.
So how do Cadets know which career paths to visit at branch orientation?
While some Cadets might tell you the allure of free candy and cool promotional videos sparked their interest, the majority of Cadets choose their top branches based on which exercises throughout Cadet Summer Training they’ve enjoyed most.
For Cadet Daniel Jamieson, Ohio University, his time at Call for Fire Training inspired him to visit the Field Artillery branch.
“I’ve gone over call for fire training before at my university,” said Jamieson. “But here we participated in a simulated version of it which made it seem a lot more interesting that I had previously thought.”
“It peaked my interest and is something I could definitely see myself doing in the future.”
Experiencing training first hand is something that Jamieson finds imperative to choosing which branch is the best fit for a Cadet.
“We just got back from being in the field,” said Jamieson. “A lot of Cadets who came to Advanced Camp thinking they want to go Infantry come back and realize ‘I can’t ruck for 50 miles,’ and they have to reconsider their options.”
For Jamieson, having Cadre with years of experience in various branches has made exploring different career paths also more accessible.
“I’m interested in engineering too,” said Jamieson. “My Master Trainer is an engineer, and he’s very open and approachable. He’s given me all the information I need to help my decision. “
Although Jamieson and his fellow Cadets’ time here at Cadet Summer Training is coming to an end, their time as a future leader of America is only beginning.