Last Updated: June 21st, 2024By

FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY — Cadets with 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, partake in Engagement Skills Training at Cadet Summer Training on Fort Knox, June 21, 2024. EST is an exercise where Cadets begin to familiarize themselves with the M4 carbine rifle and practice firing it on a smokeless range.

During this training, Cadets are put in a simulated range scenario and use a similar weapon they will be using in the coming days to hopefully qualify. Once in the simulation room, Cadets will practice shooting at different distances and positions. Prior to the actual simulation, Cadets can practice on how to properly load a magazine and practice proper shooting positions.

While patiently waiting, Cadets can go through as many practice rounds as they can before they eventually go into the testing room. This also gives them the opportunity to reflect on the first few days of CST, where they hope to see themselves at the conclusion of training and how they stay in the training mindset.

“I am looking forward to the connections I make with my platoon,” said Cadet Lillie Quiachon, Penn State University, Pa. “Also, learning everything that the Cadre have to teach us while being here.”

CST is a learning experience for every Cadet. Even if one Cadet has more experience than another most Cadets will come out of CST having learned something new and use it to better their career as a future Army officer.

“I hope to improve on more leadership skills so when we get into the field and start running lanes, I can make sure how I am acting is how we have been practicing,” said Cadet Mark Menning, Marquette University, Wi.

While they still have a full journey ahead of them, Cadets know that it is important to remain positive even in situations that may be stressful or new to them.

“You just have to give your best shot and that’s what counts,” said Cadet Alex Arriza, Virginia Tech, Va. “A lot of it is stressful, but if you realize that it’s not the end of the world it can be more relieving.”

Mentality is key in many aspects within the Army. Cadets are away from their family and what they are used to, while that is a challenge it is important to remember what this is for and how it will be a benefit to the remainder of training.

“If your mindset is negative, everything seems negative. If your mindset is positive, everything seems a lot better,” Quiachon said.

From the start, even before EST, Cadets reflect on why every part of CST is important and understand that it is something that just needs to be done to succeed.

About the Author: Morgan Edwards