Last Updated: June 13th, 2024By Tags: , , ,

FORT KNOX, Ky. – On June 12, 2023, during observer controller training, the Observer Coach Trainer Academy instructors of Fort Knox, Ky., laid out the expectations they had for the Cadre with the 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, who will be in charge of the incoming U.S. Army Cadets at Cadet Summer Training. Lt. Col. Dan Hurd from the University of North Carolina explained why OCT takes place before Cadre receive their assigned Cadets.

Lt. Col. Hurd watches over Cadre at observer controller training in Fort Knox, Ky., June 12, 2023. Hurd believes that all Cadets deserve an equitable opportunity to succeed during Cadet Summer Training. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

 “Today’s training is to get them onboarded onto this process, so they learn the technical and tactical tasks that they need to teach Cadets,” said Hurd.

Hurd explained that the instructors from the academy spend a significant amount of time planning out their training sessions for CST. The point of OCT is to set up both the Cadets and Cadre for success, ensuring that impeccable evaluations and instructions are given through the course of CST.  

Incoming Cadre with the 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, work together to complete their mission in Fort Knox, Ky. at observer controller training, June 12, 2023. During OCT, the Observer Coach Trainer Academcy prepares the Cadre for the role they will be taking on during Cadet Summer Training. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

“We really have worked at calibrating the process across all teams, making sure that every single individual that’s going to be counseling a Cadet does so in a very similar manner and looks at the exact same leadership attributes across all 10 Regiments.”

Starting the day after they arrive at the base, the Cadre start OCT, and they are tested on their ability to work as a part of a team of four. Maj. Tim Black from the University of Iowa noted that team building amongst the Cadre happens right away. Black went into further detail on why team development matters early on.  

“The reality is that there’s these four individuals on this team. They are the ones that are going to be doing the day-to-day operations with those Cadets, building those relationships, and establishing trust,” Black explained. “It’s important to set the tone here on day one that we’re coming out here, and we are putting the max amount of effort into training.”

OCT consists of simulated missions that small teams work on to complete. The simulated missions, such as the written land navigation test, gives the Cadre an idea of what the Cadets will be tasked with throughout CST. Sgt. 1st Class Gene Zheng, an instructor from the OCT Academy, said that the OCT missions are designed for building a more cohesive team.

A team of Cadre with the 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, plot points on their land navigation map during observer controller training in Fort Knox, Ky., June 12, 2023. On the first day of OCT, the Cadre meet the other members on their assigned team for the first time. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

Zheng said, “It’s not necessarily about the problem set itself specifically but more about developing the connection between the team members.”

OCT creates a learning environment for Cadets that is not only productive, but also supportive as well.

Hurd believes that the best leaders are leaders that care.  He said, “people learn when their leaders care, and they are bought in and engaged and willing to give it 100%.”

The true intent of OCT is to build Cadre into leaders that care about their Cadets. When Cadets see their Cadre working hard, they will be more inclined to put as much effort as possible into becoming the best leaders they can be.

About the Author: Kate Koennecke
Kate Koennecke
Kate Koennecke is a rising junior at The Ohio State University double-majoring in Political Science and Strategic Communications. This summer, Koennecke will be working as a Public Affairs Intern, covering events throughout Cadet Summer Training this summer as a Photojournalist. Koennecke has had many experiences working in the public sphere, including interning for the Ohio Statehouse for the Ohio Democratic Caucus in the Senate in the fall of 2022. Once this summer comes to an end, Koennecke hopes to take back her knowledge of Public Affairs back to the Buckeye state with her.