2nd Regiment Cadets completed field training exercises at Fort Knox, Ky., June 27, 2022. 

The exercises, which are part of Cadet Summer Training, take place in the field and teach Cadets how to plan and carry out various simulated, tactical missions. 

A U.S. Army Cadet with 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp, guards a camp during a field training exercise at Fort Knox, Ky., June 27, 2022. The exercise, which is part of Cadet Summer Training, taught Cadets how to defend from a simulated enemy’s attack. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

Cadet Asher Freese, from Texas A&M University, was the squad leader during one of the missions. He said his job involved making sure his squad followed the platoon leader’s orders. 

“I’m in charge of about 10 people, I’m making sure they know what’s going on, and I’m making sure they do exactly what the platoon leader wants them to do,” Freese said. “For this defense, we’re setting up, building up our positions and getting ready to fight the enemy.” 

Freese said his advice for someone preparing for an FTX would be to pack light. 

“Pack light and keep a positive mentality,” said Freese “If you’re the one guy in your platoon that has morale, the rest of the team will follow.” 

Freese also highlighted the importance of teamwork while completing these exercises. 

“For these missions, teamwork is essential,” Freese said. “Teamwork, I think, encompasses communication. Without communication, nothing happens.”

A U.S. Army Cadet with 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp, watches for simulated enemies at Fort Knox, Ky., June 27, 2022. Cadets filled different roles with different responsibilities during the field training exercises, which are part of Cadet Summer Training. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

Freese said the need for teamwork applies to all aspects of CST.

“I mean, the whole point of CST is we’re out here getting graded, and we’re being assessed for our leadership capabilities and to succeed in our careers,” Freese said. “So, we all have to help each other out, right? One person can’t succeed out here without the support of everybody else.” 

Freese said it is important to give good effort no matter what role someone is filling. 

“If we’re all giving our best effort, it’s impossible for the leaders to fail,” Freese said. “You’re going to want that respect when you are in charge, so when you’re the lowest, the bottom of the barrel, you still give your whole effort for these people that you’ve been with for the past month.” 

Freese believes the FTX has brought his team closer. 

A U.S. Army Cadet with 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp, runs to give information to his squad during a field training exercise at Fort Knox, Ky., June 27, 2022. As the squad leader, a Cadet would be responsible for communicating plans and instructions from the platoon leader to a squad. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

“There’s a lot of downtime in the evening and that’s when I’ve shared a lot of stories and heard a lot from some of my battle buddies that have really changed my perspective from our relationship in garrison, start to get closer out here,” Freese said. “The field does that, you know, you’re tired and hungry, so you get more personal and everything.”

Freese said he found the heat challenging during the FTX and keeping motivated was also tough. He said the team works to keep each other motivated though. He said sharing laughter is what helps keep the morale high. 

“Laughter is contagious, flips that switch in your brain, you’re like ‘this isn’t so bad for a little bit,’” Freese said. “But you have to realize that everybody’s going through the same thing and everybody in the past has done it. You’ll get through.” 

Cadet Mya Rivenburg, from the University of Pittsburgh, also said teamwork was crucial during the FTX. She said it’s important that everybody is on the same page and can turn to each other for help. 

“When we need something, whether that’s a personal thing or for the success of the mission, we always know that we can have each other’s backs and everything,” Rivenburg said. “We have been working really hard at building our teams and building the relationships, not only within our squad, but within the platoon, so that we know people on a personal level.”

Rivenburg said having people there, who are excited about the training helps with morale. 

“When somebody’s having an off day, everybody is there to talk them through it, kind of lift them up a bit,” Rivenburg said. 

Rivenburg said her advice for someone coming to the FTX would be to help fellow Cadets. 

“Watch out for your battle buddies,” Rivenburg said. “Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself, but also taking care of the people around you.”

About the Author: Erinn Finley
Erinn Finley
Erinn Finley is a senior at Murray State University majoring in journalism. She enjoys writing, reading, travel and photography. She worked for the student newspaper at her campus to further her writing skills outside of the classroom. During the Cadet Summer Training internship, she hopes to further her photography and writing skills.