Last Updated: June 13th, 2024By Tags: , , , ,

Fort Knox, Ky- Cadets from 2nd Regiment Advanced Camp test their accuracy with their M4 Carbines during group and zero procedures at Canby Range June 12, 2024. Cadets are tasked with firing five successive rounds down range. Once all Cadets have finished firing, they walk onto the range and examine their targets to have them graded by Cadre.

Cadets from 2nd Regiment Advanced Camp line up on the range to complete their group and zero procedures as part of Cadet Summer Training on Fort Knox, Ky, June 12, 2024. | Photo by Andrew Berger, Ball State University, CST Public Affairs Office

Cadets come to Cadet Summer Training with varying levels of experience. For some, this is the first time they have fired an M4 Carbine in their life. For others, this exercise is familiar. Cadet Cameo Mabry, South Carolina University, is someone whose experience level exceeds many in his regiment. As an active-duty Soldier, Mabry has eleven years of service under his belt as he undergoes CST this summer.

Cadet Cameo Mabry, University of South Carolina, 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp, poses for a photo after completing his group and zero procedures at Canbry Range on Fort Knox, Ky, June 12, 2024. | Photo by Andrew Berger, Ball State University, CST Public Affairs Office

Mabry is a member of the Army’s Green to Gold program and hopes to earn his masters and commission as an officer. Green to Gold is a program designed for current active-duty enlisted Soldiers to complete their education and make the switch to the officer path of the Army. Mabry said that his level of experience has offered him a unique chance to assist fellow Cadets going through the ROTC program.

“While serving in the program I get the chance to give back to these Cadets,” said Mabry, “who may not have the experience or skills that I have.”

Mabry expressed his excitement for the group and zero training due to his chance to refresh and improve his skills.

Cadet Cameo Mabry, University of South Carolina, 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp, shoots his M4 Carbine at the group and zero range as part of Cadet Summer Training on Fort Knox, Ky, June 12, 2024. Mabry is a member of the Army’s Green to Gold program, which allows active duty Soldiers the chance to pursue a high-level education while provided the opportunity to serve their country. | Photo by Andrew Berger, Ball State University, CST Public Affairs Office

“This time last year, I was actually a drill sergeant for this exercise.” said Mabry, “being at school, a lot of this stuff you forget, so this was a great refresher.”

Being active duty for eleven years, Mabry believed there were many things he was an expert on. However, he shared that the Cadre on Fort Knox have been enlightening in their knowledge.

“I can definitely say that I have learned,” said Mabry, “which is a great thing. Learning constantly.”

Mabry places an importance on being humble and admitting that you’re not the best at everything. He believes a leader should stay true to themselves and lean on their peers.

“Even if I do have prior knowledge,” said Mabry, “I believe everyone deserves to be heard out.”

Mabry said his leadership style tends to carry a commanding presence, yet he doesn’t let this stop him from calling himself out on something if he falls short.

“I don’t act like I know everything,” said Mabry, “A leader should take feedback, accept it, and adapt.”

Mabry’s inspiration for joining the Army was the product of his family’s military history. With a grandfather who served in the Army National Guard and a few cousins spread out across different branches, Mabry said he felt a responsibility to pursue his own journey in the military.

“I wanted to start my own legacy,” said Mabry.

Mabry said that those considering Green to Gold should take advantage of the opportunities provided through the program. He said he values the opportunity to be active duty while furthering his civilian education. CST on Fort Knox allows him to keep his skills fresh and sharpened.

While Mabry plans to continue with a military career after ROTC as an officer, some Cadets plan to take the skills they learn in the program back to a job in the civilian space.

Cadet Mia Walker, University of Texas, plans to be commissioned as an Army nurse. Going into the National Guard, Walker said she hopes to work at a hospital for her career as a civilian.

Cadet Mia Walker, University of Texas, 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp, after she completed her group and zero procedures as part of Cadet Summer Training, at Canbry Range, on Fort Knox, Ky., June 12, 2024. Walker plans to commission as an Army nurse after graduation. | Photo by Andrew Berger, Ball State University, CST Public Affairs Office

Walker also joined ROTC due to her family’s history in the program. Some of the family went the officer route while others went enlisted. Walker said that being surrounded by a military family has motivated her to pursue the same career. Walker wants to go medical route because of how inspiring she finds the nursing corps in the Army.

“I also joined ROTC because I wanted a sense of camaraderie and purpose while in college,” said Walker.

Being from San Antonio, Walker grew up in a military city. This naturally led to her looking for community in the world she recognizes.

“Some look at sororities or fraternities,” said Walker, “I was looking closer to home with ROTC.”

When she first arrived at CST, Walker was given the position of platoon sergeant. Having no experience leading in the garrison, she was intimidated when taking on the role. Even under intimidation, Walker realizes the benefit of learning leadership skills for her future goals.

“The traits I’ve learned on becoming a leader will transfer over into a hospital with being a floor lead,” said Walker, “I couldn’t have gained better skills than those I have learned from CST and just my Army experience in general.”

Walker said that being a good leader starts with respect. She said that being in a position of leadership requires confidence and an outward expression that you are motivated and excited to be there.

“If you have that, and it’s reflected well,” said Walker, “it will be reflected by your peers and your Soldiers.

Walker said her favorite aspect of leading is being able to watch her Soldiers’ competence, motivation and skills improve while she outwardly reflects the same qualities.

While Mabry and Walker have two vastly different experiences and reasons for being here, they both share a common view of the importance of leadership and camaraderie.

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.