Fort Knox, Kentucky- Under the dancing light of the early morning sun through the trees, Cadets with 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, took on the confidence course as part of Cadet Summer Training, June 27, 2024. The course comprises ten obstacles designed to challenge Cadets physically and mentally. Despite their intimidating appearance, the course aims to instill confidence in Cadets.

Throughout their training, the 4th Regiment Cadets consistently provided encouragement for one another. As they awaited their respective turns at each obstacle, Cadets vocally supported their squad members as they tackled and completed their challenges.

Cadet Benjamin Goff from The University of Southern California, a member of 4th Regiment, shared that the Cadets arrived at the confidence course this morning after having only accumulated nine hours of sleep over the past few days. Goff believes that in order to push through the fatigue, it’s essential to have a supportive group of people with whom you can share a laugh. This laughter, he emphasized, not only lightens the mood but also boosts morale and camaraderie among the Cadets. “You must have people you can survive tough situations with,” said Goff, “If you feel sad, defeated, and believe you can’t push through, rather than brushing off the situation, you won’t get very far.”

Goff joined the ROTC because he was inspired by a long list of his heroes who had served before him, including Patton, Eisenhower, and Grant. Growing up, Goff was a history buff and felt a calling to be in the same position as the great leaders he read about.

“I thought if I want to be someone great someday,” said Goff, “I should go and forge my own path in the Army like they did.”

He firmly believes that the Army has the power to unlock greatness in people by rewarding skills often overlooked in the civilian world, such as lethality, gentlemanliness, and overcoming adversity.

“The Army crafts Soldiers who have the ability to be courageous and brave,” said Goff, “Yet kind and thoughtful at the same time.”

Goff shared that while attempting the “Tough One”, he completed it with a no-go. He laughed and expressed it was something he would catch some slack for back home. While he struggled on the “Tough One”, Goff completed the other obstacles with flying colors. During his time at CST, he has come to understand that he still has a lot to learn. Nonetheless, his accomplishments have taught him to take pride in his achievements, no matter how small they may be.

For future Cadets, Goff says to work closely with your battle buddies and keep each other motivated. He expressed that giving up is not an option and that whatever a Cadet puts their mind to, they can achieve it.

“Let your mind give out before your body does,” said Goff.

The “Tough One” has long caused Cadets who attempt it a true challenge.  This is the first obstacle Cadets see when entering the shaded woods of the course. This obstacle includes a rope climb, a precarious traverse across a bridge of planks, and an ascent and descent of a ladder and cargo net.

Cadet Citlaly Sosa from Norwich University, VT, was one of many Cadets who expressed difficulty with this challenge. Sosa mentioned that she had no prior experience climbing a rope, but despite this, she gave her best effort. Unfortunately, she did not succeed, but she is glad that she tried her best and plans to work towards mastering the challenge in the future.

Sosa’s decision to enlist in the ROTC was driven by her passion to serve her community. Having grown up in a household where she and her sister acted as interpreters for their parents, who were immigrants from Mexico and faced language barriers, Sosa developed resilience and strength from a young age. Her experiences with her younger brother, who has autism, further fueled a commitment to serving the special needs community. Sosa received her degree in nursing to pursue her desire to serve the sick. She will be commissioned as a US Army nurse at the end of the summer as an end-of-camp commission.

“My parents always taught us to be humble, and to put others first,” said Sosa, “They also made sure I remembered to never leave anyone behind, especially family.”

Sosa expressed that her squad has become like a second family to her. Even though they have only been together for two weeks, Sosa is fully committed to supporting any of her fellow soldiers who require assistance.

For future Cadets, she says the most important thing to remember is keeping a positive mindset.

“If you don’t overcome an obstacle, just move on to the next one,” said Sosa, “At the end of the day, you will be supported, and you will get better.”

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.