The Field training exercises (FTX) that take place at Fort Knox pit Cadets against a multitude of challenges meant to test their planning, coordination, and teamwork in a field environment. The pressures inherent in these exercises force the Cadets to work on their leadership roles as well, with the leadership roles rotating among Cadets throughout the FTX.

Cadets from 4th Regiment plan out a defense at a field training exercise during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Ky., July 3. The defense was choreographed by Cadets acting as platoon and squad leaders. A successful mission was partially dependent on how effectively the platoon prepared for an attacking force, as well as how well they communicated during the exercise. | Photo by Nathan Abbott, CST Public Affairs Office.

 4th Regiment Cadet Abigail Lanz from the University of Notre Dame is on her second day going through FTX Panther, where her platoon was responsible for defending a point against simulated enemies. Before going into the exercise, Lanz recalled how her platoon performed in a past FTX experience, where a slight misstep during the drill was mitigated from becoming a full-on disaster for her platoon.

“This morning our recon turned into a react to contact because we accidentally went a little too far,” said Lanz. “I think that the squad leaders did a really good job taking charge … and making sure that we didn’t get stuck and frozen because when you freeze and don’t make decisions, bad things happen.”

Lanz enjoys working with her platoon and experiencing first-hand the teamwork and leadership that Cadet Summer Training forms.

“It’s kind of fun to see how everyone handles the situation,” said Lanz. “We just met each other a few weeks ago, so we’re still getting to know how each other acts in certain situations. It’s fun to see people step up, take charge when they need to, and manage all the different expectations that are going on.”

After having successfully completed the FTX defense, Lanz was pleased with how her platoon continued to display apt teamwork.

“Even though I wasn’t on the side taking contact, I still knew what was going on because people were shouting it out,” said Lanz. “Everyone knew what was going on, where the enemy was and what part of the mission we were on, like had the enemy been destroyed or were they still out there and coming back to do a second attack.”  

4th Regiment Cadet Abigail Lanz poses for a portrait after completing a field training exercise during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Ky., July 3. Lanz, a University of Notre Dame student, aspired to become a physician, and had applied to medical school. Her time with ROTC helped her build up the confidence to follow that dream. | Photo by Nathan Abbott, CST Public Affairs Office.

Decisive leadership carried Lanz and her platoon through another day of FTX. Following this event, the Cadets will change leadership once again and move into their patrol base for the night. After that, 4th Regiment will tackle FTX Grizzly.

Lanz is looking forward to having the training wheels completely off and to see what her platoon is fully capable of when led without the assistance of the Cadre.

“I’m excited to see how that’s going to feel,” said Lanz. “I think it’ll be more exciting.”

About the Author: Nathan Abbott
Nathan Abbott