FORT KNOX, Ky. – During field leaders reaction course training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 17, 2023, small squads from the 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets learned how to come together as they rotate from one station to the next. Capt. Eric Engel from the University of Cincinnati explained that FLRC is designed in a way that forces Advanced Camp Cadets to work together as a unit.

Advanced Camp Cadets from the 2nd Regiment work together to come up with their mission plan during field leaders reaction course training at Fort Knox, Ky, June 17, 2023. During FLRC training, squads learn about their squad’s strengths and weaknesses while completing missions together. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

“We have 16 lanes of squad obstacles here, and they approach each one from their own squad’s perspective, and one squad leader receives a mission brief,” said Engel. “They make decisions and communicate, and they walk away from this knowing more about the strengths and weaknesses between their squads.”

The main objective, which is working together as a team, can be overlooked when Cadets with strong personalities want to take over the squad leader’s role. After reflecting on her performance as the squad leader at the quicksand station, Cadet Lizzette Gomez from Fresno State University described the hardships that come from multiple strong leaders being put in a group together.

Cadet Lizzette Gomez from Fresno State University from the 2nd Regiment plays the role of squad leader at the field leaders reaction course in Fort Knox, Ky., June 17, 2023. During FLRC training, every squad picks out one Cadet to serve as squad leader for each mission. Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

Gomez said, “We all have great qualities, and it is kind of hard to put those away sometimes and be a follower. Obviously, when you have such great minds working together you all want to lead, but sometimes, you kind of forget that we’re also supposed to be followers at the same time.”

The Cadre who have been observing Advanced Camp Cadets throughout the entirety of Cadet Summer Training said that the biggest mistakes that happen within a squad during an obstacle are when an individual Cadet cares more about ‘being chief’ than blending together with their squad and working as one unit.

Cadet Mason Zurun from the University of Colorado said that the hardest part about being the squad leader during FLRC was giving his group the space to problem solve while sorting out multiple ideas that came from the members of his squad.

“The hardest part about being squad leader was getting everyone’s ideas they had in their head and forming them into one idea, and keeping everybody in check,” said Zurun.

Whether it be taking Zurun’s approach of leading by example, or Gomez’s usage of constant verbal communication, the 2nd Regiment Cadets now understand that there are multiple routes to leadership.

Leadership is not an individual effort but a group effort, and teamwork is no solo act.

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.