Fort Knox, KentuckyCadets with 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp, engaged in Field Training Exercise Panther, applying the skills they have learned throughout Advanced Camp in tactical settings as part of Cadet Summer Training, June 23, 2024. These exercises are segmented into three distinct phases—Wolverine, Panther, and Grizzly—each building on the previous in difficulty and autonomy.

During the Panther phase, Cadets are fully immersed in simulated combat scenarios, navigating the challenges with minimal guidance from Cadre. This phase is designed to push Cadets to their limits, fostering growth and confidence in their abilities.

Cadets are entrusted with crucial leadership roles such as Platoon Leader, Platoon Sergeant, Squad Leader, or Team Leader. Each role is pivotal in relaying mission-critical information to their respective elements. Accurately understanding this information directly contributes to each mission’s success, highlighting the importance of every Cadet’s role.

Cadet Reed Forney from the University of Akron, Oh, expressed that events such as these and many others at CST have highlighted where his leadership skills are lacking. 

“We are reviewed heavily through everything we do,” said Forney, “it’s eye-opening, but it helps you critique yourself to become a better and more effective leader.” 

Forney joined ROTC because he saw a chance to be part of something greater than himself. With both parents serving as police officers, Forney grew up witnessing sacrificial service for one’s community. 

“Seeing them go to work every day,” said Forney, “willing to put their life on the line for the community inspired me to do the same for my country.” 

The FTX training is designed to emphasize the development of tactical proficiency, communication skills, and teamwork. Cadets must work cooperatively to ensure each platoon member understands the mission at hand and their roles within it.

Cadet Connor Lively from the University of Georgia spoke about the importance of Cadets working together to assume their roles correctly for the betterment of the company’s performance. 

“Teamwork is everything out here,” said Lively, “We have to move as one unit, and if you aren’t caught up on the plan, things go wrong fast.”

As future Army Officers, Cadets are being meticulously prepared to shoulder the planning, organization, management, and leadership responsibilities that are integral to their future roles. FTX training, a pivotal step in this preparation, highlights the development of tactical leadership capabilities at all levels. 

About the Author: Andrew Berger
Andrew Berger is a senior at Ball State University majoring in Photojournalism. He is the Photo Editor of the Ball State Daily News and a member of the NPPA.