Last Updated: June 20th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, Kentucky—Cadets with 3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp, began the afternoon practicing throwing hand grenades before completing their final qualification on June 19, 2024.

“The cadets are learning how to throw grenades from the prone, kneeling, and standing positions at different targets from various distances,” said Jimmy Lopez, 2nd Lt., Platoon Training Officer at CST. “It’s to help them learn how to use their equipment better as well as become more confident in their skills and abilities.”

For many of the Cadets, today may have been their first interaction with hand grenades. During these kinds of trainings, it is important for Cadets to have instruction from cadre with experience—2nd Lt. Lopez, for example.

Lopez attended training last summer and is now a commissioned officer. He has traveled back to Kentucky this summer to assist in training Cadets at Fort Knox.

Lopez joined the Army when he was 17 while still attending high school. His love for the outdoors drew him in, but once he learned that by joining the military he could help his parents become American citizens, the choice was clear.

“My family immigrated from Mexico, so I used my military status to help them get their green cards and citizenship,” said Lopez. “My mom is finally finalizing the process… It took about 20 years.”

Although his parents feel his absence, they are proud of their son and continue to support him throughout his career.

“It’s good to give back to our parents when they gave so much for us,” said Lopez.

Unlike Lopez’s parents, who have experience with the absence of their son, for many others, this summer may be the first time their child is away at training. Take Cadet Cole Peters, Johns Hopkins University, for example.

Throughout Advanced Camp, Peters has taken time to catch up with his parents at home, easing their nerves.

“They are definitely encouraging and proud, but my mom thought I was going on a combat deployment coming out here,” said Peters. “It’s just foreign to them, so it’s fun to share that stuff with them.”

As Family Day approaches, Cadets with 3rd Regiment look forward to the opportunity to visit with their families and share stories of their experiences from this summer at Fort Knox.

About the Author: Sophia Hughes