Fort Knox, Kentucky- Cadets with 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, put their leadership abilities to the test at the field leader reaction course as part of Cadet Summer Training, June 26, 2024.

The Field Leader Reaction Course is not just a test of individual skills but a platform that builds unity and teamwork among the Cadets. At the beginning of each obstacle, Cadre selects a Cadet to be the squad leader for that station. The squad leader is responsible for leading the others towards the solution to the problem. In their role as facilitators, the Cadre are allowed to make the rules slightly more challenging during the course, such as stipulating that no one can talk except the squad leader. This necessitates high adaptability and quick decision-making, constantly pushing the Cadets to learn and grow as leaders.

Cadet Min Kim, University of California, has always felt a deep commitment to serve his country, inspired by his family members who also served before him. He believes that being able to listen is not just one of the most critical aspects of leading but a crucial skill that every leader must master to understand and empathize with their team truly. 

“Your trigger finger as a leader is your thumb,” said Kim, “Because you’re always pressing the radio.”

It can be challenging for Cadets to bond with a group of people they’ve just met. However, Kim mentioned that his squad has successfully bonded through their shared experiences.

“I consider this whole squad my close friends,” said Kim, “It’s really nice to have that close support for days like these.” 

Cadet Emily Gillis from Western Kentucky University joined ROTC because she wants to protect the rights and opportunities that America has provided her. Adopted from China at a young age, Gillis holds the freedoms she is given here to a very high degree. 

“I don’t want to take my citizenship for granted,” said Gillis, “If I were still in China, there is much I would have never had and never would have experienced.” 

While she isn’t planning to go on active duty, Gillis still feels she is protecting her family and those she cares about. She also hopes to inspire those who come here from other countries, whether through adoption or immigration. 

Gillis mentioned that individuals who were raised in America can often overlook their rights because they’ve never lived in a place with limited freedom. She stated that she enjoys expressing her opinion, something she wouldn’t have been able to do if she had stayed in China.

Gillis sees her service in the military as a way to show her dedication to her country. It is her way of expressing, ‘I’m American.’ 

“I’m proud to be an American,” said Gillis “I worked to learn the history and language, and now I am here representing myself.” 

Gillis is proud of her performance during the FLRC and believes she gave her personal best through every obstacle. However, one thing ROTC has taught her is that you can always build on everything you do. She shared that she came to CST with little experience and has focused on learning in every situation she can.

“I just continue to build,” said Gillis, “You’re never going to be an expert, but every time you push your limits, you’re getting closer to reaching that excellence.” 

Gillis stated that her squad effectively collaborated during the obstacles. She is convinced that today’s experience demonstrated their ability to work well together when 4th Regiment goes for their FTX and faces stressful environments.

 

About the Author: Andrew Berger
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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.