FORT KNOX, KY. – With 11 days left of Advanced Camp, Cadets from 1st Regiment are in their Panther phase of Field Training Exercise on Fort Knox, Kentucky. The purpose of this training is to give future Officers useful skills and the ability to tactically organize missions in the field which is a critical exercise for Cadets during Cadet Summer Training.

An FTX is an exercise where Cadets learn and apply the skills gained from Advanced Camp in a tactical environment. FTXs in CST are separated into three phases. These phases, Wolverine, Panther and Grizzly, are molded by the ‘crawl, walk, run’ design. Each phase increases in complexity over time and goes from all, little and zero help from Cadre.

Each Cadet takes on a leadership role such as Platoon Leader, Platoon Sergeant, Squad Leader or Team Leader. Each role holds a vital position in ensuring that information pertaining to the mission is disseminated to Soldiers in the platoon. Accurate distribution of this information aids in the success of a mission.

During the Panther phase, Cadets spend three days in the field running through missions with little help from Cadre. They are expected to execute in the roles through various simulated combat scenarios such as attacks, raids, ambushes, etc. Panther is designed to challenge Cadets and their abilities to make decisions in a stressful environment.

Cadet John Louis, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, took on the role as Third Squad Leader during the Attack Mission on day 2 during the Panther phase.

Louis explains the significance of third squad during an Attack.

“It’s not just security,” said Louis. “We are making sure that nothing changes on the objective.”

This training aims to develop not only tactical proficiency but also communication and teamwork skills. Cadets must learn to work cohesively to demonstrate these skills and ensure that all platoon members understand the mission and their roles in it.

Taking on the role as an Army Officer is a responsibility that involves planning, organizing, managing personnel and leading troops. An Officer is an essential leader in the Army, therefore understanding Army tactics on a leadership and subordinate level is a necessity.

Cadet Taylor Schiltz attends Virginia Tech University which is one of the United States’ six Senior Military Colleges. She maintains leadership positions in the Corps of Cadets and works to grow her leadership skills. Schiltz highlights the importance of using Field Training Exercises to gain knowledge essential for a future Army Officer.

“When you are fully immersed in it, that’s when you can understand what the Army is,” said Schiltz. “You can’t ask something of somebody if you haven’t done it yourself.”

Successfully navigating the Panther phase prepares Cadets for the final and most challenging phase of the FTX, Grizzly. In this phase they will be evaluated on their abilities to conduct missions independently and lead their platoon under more demanding conditions.

About the Author: Jordan Chism