FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadet Keyoate Allen from Georgia Military College, Cadet Kylie Anderson from Georgia Military College and Cadet Nathan Nantasai from Valley Forge Military Academy, Basic Camp, 1st Regiment, mentally prepared themselves for the Forest Hills Climbing Course at Fort Knox, Ky., July 20, 2023. While they waited to begin training, Sgt. 1st. Class Justin Golder from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University explained that the course contains two different sections that Basic Camp Cadets must complete. He went on to describe the design of the FHCC. “The first side is the alpine tower and climbing wall side, where we have […]
FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadet Keyoate Allen from Georgia Military College, Cadet Kylie Anderson from Georgia Military College and Cadet Nathan Nantasai from Valley Forge Military Academy, Basic Camp, 1st Regiment, mentally prepared themselves for the Forest Hills Climbing Course at Fort Knox, Ky., July 20, 2023.
While they waited to begin training, Sgt. 1st. Class Justin Golder from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University explained that the course contains two different sections that Basic Camp Cadets must complete. He went on to describe the design of the FHCC.
“The first side is the alpine tower and climbing wall side, where we have a climbing wall that’s about 55 feet, and two alpine towers that are about 45 feet tall,” Golder said. “The other half of the course is what’s known as our rotor’s rope course, which is essentially a high ropes course with about 10 obstacles that finishes off with a zipline at the end.”
The three Cadets kept each other company as they waited in line to complete the high ropes course. The Cadets felt a mix of emotions when they arrived at the FHCC early in the morning.
“I am a little nervous,” Allen said. “I can feel my stomach turning, but I’m still looking forwarding to doing it, and I am excited now that I’m standing in front of the course.”
After completing the high ropes course, Nantansai returned in line so he could support his battle buddy. Having a fear of heights, Nantansai said he had to adopt a ‘mind over matter’ mentality in order to get through the course.
“At the start, you’re on your own because you’re not hooked onto anything, which was the scariest part for me because I did not want to jump onto the ropes,” Nantansai explained. “For the rest of the course, I knew my gear was going to protect me, which is a lot better to think about instead of thinking you’re going to fall, or you can’t do this.”
Anderson decided to adopt a similar mentality as Nantansai. She said she has been pushing herself beyond her limits throughout Basic Camp, despite the nervousness she may feel.
“At basic Camp, I figured out how far I can really push myself, and I’m proud of myself,” Anderson said. “I think the purpose of Basic Camp is to gradually push us into challenging situations, because the Army is supposed to be challenging.”
The three Cadets all came to Basic Training ready to be challenged.
“Who is truly comfortable with hanging from 50 feet in the air?” Allen asked. “The point of this camp is to show us that we do the things that we thought were impossible, so I have pushed myself to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Not only are these Cadets apart of the same regiment but they all happen to be a part of the U.S. Army’s Early Commissioning Program. These Cadets are beginning their ECP fresh from graduating high school and have spent their first summer as adults at Basic Camp.
“Right out of high school, I know that most people go to the beach, but instead I was going to Fort Knox,” Anderson said. “My family was so proud of me because they didn’t really expect it.”
Unlike Anderson, Allen did not expect to spend his summer at Basic Camp. He found out that he would be coming to Basic Camp at the last minute.
“I didn’t know that I was coming here until the end of May, so I really didn’t get a summer,” Allen explained. “I had a lot of internal fights with myself because I was going to be spending my senior summer without my friends, but my family is really proud of me.”
Although these Cadets had to make sacrifices in order to meet the requirements of their ECP, they all believed that going the ECP route was the best path for them to follow. The Cadets gave advice for those who are interested in ECP.
“It’s definitely not easy, but this is a good way to transition into adulthood because it gives you that structure to transition,” Allen said. “This is hard, but nothing in life that’s worth anything comes easy.”
Going the ECP route comes with its own set of challenges, but these Cadets have learned how to embrace the hardships they have experienced at Basic Camp. Going into the next phase of training, these Cadets will continue to push themselves to become better leaders.
“For anything you want to do in life there’s always going to be an obstacle, so you might as well run through hardships,” Nantansai said. “You’re not going to be successful in life if you don’t run into problems, so learn from the hardships and push through them.”
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.