Last Updated: June 24th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY- Cadets with 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp, go through their first day of Panther phase during the Field Training Exercise portion of Cadet Summer Training, on Fort Knox, June 21, 2024.

Cadets go through a four-hour block designed to build on their previous training and demonstrate their leadership abilities. It’s not just about the tactical scenario they’re given; it’s about how they solve the tactical problem by delegating tasks. Cadets divide the problem into different components and then align their available resources to address each part. They are tested on their reactions to changing environmental conditions or enemy actions. At the end, Cadets receive feedback based on the Army Leadership Requirements Model, evaluating their leadership attributes and competencies. Evaluating if Cadets can build a good team, inspire people to do hard stuff, and get them to stay together under duress.

The training includes an hour spent on Troop Leadership Procedures Planning, around two hours of movement and actions on the objective, followed by a one-hour after-action review. During the review, teams analyze what was supposed to happen, what happened, and what improvements are needed for the future. Individual counseling sessions with each of the leaders—squad leaders, Platoon Sergeant, and Platoon Leader—are conducted by Cadre members, focusing on leadership and providing feedback on performance.

Every Cadet has the opportunity to serve as Platoon Sergeant or Platoon Leader and will hold at least two squad leader positions over the course of the two field training exercises. This prepares them to be effective officers, helping them understand small unit tactics and leadership, and equipping them to lead well in any Army career field, even if their role does not specifically involve these tasks.

After successfully completing a movement-to-contact mission, Cadet Jackson Wells from the University of Tennessee reflected on his experience as a leader. Identifying that the “Point of today’s exercise is to develop leadership skills through the use of infantry level platoon tactics,” said Wells. “So we’re out here identifying our skills and attributes that we have as future leaders in the US Army.” Through his leadership role, Cadet Wells and his teammates are gaining first-hand experience in what it takes to be a leader and to have the responsibility of others’ lives in their hands.

By navigating tactical challenges and receiving structured feedback, Cadets are not only sharpening their technical skills, but also cultivating the essential qualities of leadership, teamwork, and resilience. This training prepares Cadets to take on the responsibilities of an Officer, ensuring they are ready to lead effectively and safeguard their fellow Soldiers in any situation. As they progress through their training, these Cadets are steadily transitioning into competent and confident leaders.

About the Author: Ayiana Andrella