Story by Madelyn Guinn and Jaden Whiteman

Cadet Leilah Enoch (left) and Cadet Nbari Alexander (right) work together to make a bridge by pushing boards across during the Field Leader Reaction Course training at Fort Knox, Ky., on Mon. June 5, 2023. The FLRC is an obstacle course designed to test teamwork and critical thinking skills. | Photo by Madelyn Guinn, CST Public Affairs Office

FORT KNOX, Ky. – The field leader reaction course is an obstacle course designed to challenge and strengthen the Cadets’ teamwork and critical thinking skills during Cadet Summer Training. With 12 different courses for them to complete, the Cadets split into equal teams, appoint a squad leader in each team to guide them through their obstacles and complete the task at hand within a certain amount of time.

U.S. Army Cadet Leila Enoch from the University of Rhode Island is in her third year of being a Cadet, so she has worked through courses like this at her university. After having been named squad leader during one of the courses, Enoch explained her thoughts and experiences during the FLRC training. 

“I think it’s difficult because everybody in your group kind of has certain ideas about certain things that they should be doing for that lane, but it’s up to that one person to really bring everyone home,” said Enoch. “I actually got stumped a little bit when I was a leader during my lane, but I was able to take ideas from others and try to work with what I had and the equipment that we had to try to get as far as we could in the time allotted.”

Cadets work together to complete the rope bridge course at the Field Leader Reaction Course at Fort Knox, Ky., June 5, 2023. The FLRC is a team building training to test the cadets on their leadership skills. | Photo by Jaden Whiteman, CST Public Affairs Office

One of the 12 courses that the Cadets are tasked to complete is the rope bridge. The rope bridge simulates a broken bridge above rushing water that all Cadets within the squad must cross then climb over a wall without touching the ground. Cadet Aiden Quigley of Montana State University described why he enjoyed that course.

“I really liked the one with the cables, and you have to get a box and your people over a wall. [There was] a lot of goofy positioning, and you are learning a lot about the physical capabilities of your teammates,” said Quigley.

Capt. Adriana Tarrago from the University of Maryland’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps 4th Brigade is working as an observer-controller-trainer during CST, and she’s been here for only six days with her Cadets. She explains how the FLRC is important because it provides the Cadets the opportunity to assess their individual strengths and weaknesses while identifying what they need to work on as a team.

“I think this is a great experience to start off CST with because this is the first time that they’ve been put in a team together,” Terrago said. “It just allows them the opportunity to work through things together before getting assessed and moving on to other things.”

Cadets Seth Daniels, University of Kansas, Michael Messina, Baylor University, and Porter Haux, Boise State University, at the Field Leader Reaction Course at Fort Knox, Ky., June 5, 2023. | Photo by Jaden Whiteman, CST Public Affairs Office

Cadet Seth Daniels from the University of Kansas was originally enlisted as active duty but joined the ROTC program to expand his skill set into an officer position.

“I really love these kinds of obstacles, like the critical thinking, putting the physical aspect into it, putting people in that leadership roles,” Daniels said. “I really enjoy it, and I love seeing people blossom.”

About the Author: Jaden Whiteman
Jaden Whiteman
Jaden Whiteman is a senior at Ball State University, majoring in photojournalism. She grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has an interest in sports photography and nature photography. You can often find her curled up with a book or out hiking. She hopes to learn more writing skills and broadcasting skills. She hopes to polish up her photo skills this summer as a Public Affairs Office intern at Cadet Summer Training.