Last Updated: June 24th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, Kentucky – In an environment that tests Cadets on their physical and mental strength, competition is inevitable. But, the Cadets that thrive the most at Cadet Summer Training are the ones that build up their peers. 

T.J. Kenney, 3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp, began his ROTC journey at the University of Tampa, Fl. His friends there encouraged him to join the program. However, he decided he needed a change of scenery, transferring schools to the University of North Florida. 

“When I transferred schools to the University of North Florida, there were some individuals in the program that were a lot faster than me and stronger than me,” Kenney said. “I noticed that I was slacking a little bit and I immediately needed to get on their level as far as physical fitness and an ability to perform well in ROTC.”

Growing up as a younger sibling, Kenney said his brother often excelled both physically and academically. Because of this, their sibling relationship was filled with ambition, as Kenney always tried to match his level of excellence.  

Now, Kenney views that competitive spirit as his driving force to succeed. 

“I’m motivated by others that perform better than me,” Kenney said. “I’ve used that as a source of motivation to keep myself pushing forward.”

Kenney graduated from the University of North Florida this past spring. Upon completing CST, he will go onto commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He hopes to pursue active duty and branch armor. After his career in the military, he wants to become a law enforcement officer as a civilian. 

At CST, Kenney’s platoon has created a strong bond in a short amount of time. Before the Hand Grenade Assault Course, they gathered together to study up on the material. After dinner, they sat around in a circle quizzing each other on the types of grenades. This small act allowed the group as a whole to be set up for success prior to the event. 

In an environment where Kenney could channel his competitive spirit, he reframes his mindset. For him, it is not a matter of being better than the person next to him. It is making sure none of his battle buddies get left behind. 

“Everyone’s going through it together,” Kenney said. “Just know that the person next to you is going through the same thing as you. Keep that in the back of your head and keep pushing forward.”

About the Author: Kendall Kelly