FORT KNOX, Ky. – Every year Soldiers and Civilians come to Fort Knox from across the country to facilitate Cadet Summer Training. Some act as Cadre for the Cadet regiments, some handle command and control or logistics, and some form task forces with specific purposes.

Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Osborne, a drill sergeant with Cadet Summer Training Basic Camp, mentors Cadets on how to succeed as a Soldier at Fort Knox, Ky., July 9, 2023. Drill sergeants are essential to Cadet professional development in the U.S. Army as they transform these new recruits into combat-ready Soldiers. | Photo by Keaton Silver, University of Mississippi, CST Public Affairs Office

Task Force Wolf from the 104th Training Division is comprised of U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers that attend CST every summer to prepare Cadets to becoming future officers.

Task Force Wolf personnel include specialized staff and drill sergeants who contribute help and guidance in a variety of events at Advanced Camp and Basic Camp.

“We provide committee trainers to the land nav [navigation] training, CBRNE [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear weapons and high-yield explosives] and first aid training, the field leadership reaction course, confidence course, rappel tower, and warrior skills,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Plassmeyer, the current Task Force Wolf commander.

Task Force Wolf has the same purpose every year. As a reserve unit, Task Force Wolf personnel spend the months leading up to CST making sure they have the expertise to help lead these Cadets to success.

“ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] is the 104’s mission,” Plassmeyer said. “The drill sergeants are focused on being drill sergeants for Basic Camp, and for our trainers, this is just their mission every year. Everybody who’s available comes out.”

Throughout the summer, Task Force Wolf has around 1,500 Soldiers providing support. However, because they are a reserve unit, there are four rotations where other members of the unit arrive at Fort Knox to switch roles every couple of weeks.

“My staff and I make sure our trainers have what they need to be able to go out and do their job,” Plassmeyer said. “We also use the time we have together to do our planning for the next fiscal year.”

Plassmeyer and his battalion are based out of Washington State. He states that Task Force Wolf always attempts to make the Cadet experience better.

The role of drill sergeant is a key player in enhancing the Cadet experience. Task Force Wolf provides drill sergeants for Basic Camp to train Cadets and give them a firsthand look at what the U.S. Army expects out of a Soldier.

“Putting a drill sergeant in a leadership position as a subject matter expert when it comes to training, is the best thing you can do to train somebody who is fresh off their couch,” said Staff Sgt. Darren O’Dell, a drill sergeant with Basic Camp. “We instill discipline standards, and customs and courtesies right out the gate.”

The drill sergeants are responsible for and assist with training in basic combat tasks, physical fitness, military bearing, leadership, first aid, and resilience.

“It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” O’Dell said. “I love seeing the end result of all the hard work the drill sergeants put in. You take somebody who doesn’t know anything about the military, and you turn them into somebody who’s motivated and willing to go to war for their country.”

Task Force Wolf includes personnel that specialize in a wide variety of events and duties. Those who do not serve as drill sergeants contribute their expertise in other ways.

Capt. Conor Cahill, Task Force Wolf land navigation officer in charge, is responsible for numerous duties.

“We instruct Basic Camp Cadets, and when Advanced Camp Cadets come out, we proctor the exams, and we run all the checkpoints,” Cahill said. “I love being out here. This is my first summer being back here since I was a Cadet and I’m already looking forward to next year.”

While Cadets train at camp, the Task Force Wolf Cadre help them continuously learn and adapt new skills.

During the upcoming months leading up to CST, Sgt. Brandon Scott, a Task Force Wolf Cadre, certified to be a safety personnel for the 64-foot tower.

“We train on rope ties and how to act as a belay master,” Scott said. “We got our tasking around October, from then on, we’re training. I tried to be as prepared as you can be to train the Cadets.”

Task Force Wolf’s goal every summer is to provide guidance and expertise to the Cadets during Advanced Camp and Basic Camp. These Army Reserve Soldiers take time out of their summer every year to help prepare the future officers of the U.S. Army.

“Our Cadre become experts in the tasks, but they’re really experts in how to train Soldiers,” Plassmeyer said. “We all come together from all over the United States to make this a very enjoyable mission.”

About the Author: Keaton Silver
Keaton Silver
Keaton Silver is a student at The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) majoring in Integrated Marketing & Communications in the school of Journalism and New Media. Silver is originally from San Clemente, California, but now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Silver also happens to be an Army ROTC cadet at Ole Miss., and plans to focus on photojournalism before attending Advanced Camp the second half of the summer.