FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadet Anna Johnson from Michigan State University, Advanced Camp, 8th Regiment, recovers after the Field Training Exercise, at Densberger, Fort Knox, Ky., August 2, 2023.

While cleaning her M-4 Carbine Rifle, Johnson described the pressure she felt while working together with her entire platoon to complete tactical missions in the field.

“When you’re under stress or under pressure, you start to see a different side of people and how they develop as leaders,” Johnson explained. “At the baseline, everyone has to know these tactics and the basics of being a Soldier, so working as a whole not only builds teamwork but also teaches us how to work under stress.”

Cadets from Advanced Camp, 8th Regiment, recover from their Field Training Exercise during refit at Fort Knox, Ky., August 2nd, 2023. At recovery, the Cadets have time to eat, clean their weapons, and take showers before they start their 12-mile ruck march. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

Johnson said that the toughest part about working in the field was dealing with the fact that not everything is going to go as planned. Describing herself as having a type A personality, Johnson had to adapt to the constant changes that were made to the mission plan.

“As a person who’s very organized and clean, being in a situation like this was tough for me,” Johnson said. “Managing all these elements while keeping calm in those situations was vital, because when you’re put under stress like that, there’s no other option.”

Throughout Cadet Summer Training, Johnson said she has become more patient after participating in consecutive stressful training events.  

“I’m very type A, but I think I have a lot more patience and more of an ability to take a deep breath than I thought I did,” Johnson said. “While being here, I’ve also discovered that I want to work in military intelligence, not in the field. Initially, I was interested in combat arms.”

Johson’s time at CST is almost up, meaning that she is one step closer to commissioning as a U.S. Army Officer. Johnson reflected on her Reserve Officers’ Training Corps journey, and how her ROTC program has set her up for success.

Cadet Anna Johnson (from right) from Michigan State University, Advanced Camp, 8th Regiment, smiles for a photo with a fellow Cadet during the Field Training Exercise recovery at Densberger, Fort Knox, Ky., August 2nd, 2023. Johnson hopes to work in military intelligence once she commissions as a U.S. Army Officer. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

“My indoor track coach in high school was a West Point graduate and he was the one who first introduced me to the idea of going to college and becoming an officer,” Johnson explained. “ROTC helped me get my life together. It has helped me prioritize things and made me more consistent with my sleeping and eating habits, and everyone in my battalion is on the same page of what needs to be done.”

Johnson’s consistency throughout her time in ROTC helped her prepare for CST. She said she is excited to be out of the field and is ready to take on the 12-mile ruck march.

“I’m looking forward to the 12-mile because it’s one of the big milestones, and I’m excited to be done,” Johnson said. “Surrounding myself with this group has shown me that this is all possible, and if all these people can get through this, then so can I.”

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.