Fort Knox, Kentucky – Cadets from 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed their warrior skills training event during Cadet Summer Training on June 19, 2024, on Fort Knox. The warrior skills event consists of a series of exercises geared towards teaching Cadets about basic military tactical operations in combat environments before beginning field training exercises for the summer. 

When 2nd Regiment arrived at the Eagles Nest, they were divided into their respective platoons before splitting off to the eight different stations Cadets would face for the day. The stations included employing claymore mines, painting face camouflage, unjamming a weapon malfunction, and properly calling for artillery fire. Warrior skills training tests Cadets’ mental ability to problem-solve these challenges under pressure.

Cadet Will Mogel from Gonzaga University, WA, wishes to join active-duty infantry after graduation. Mogel expressed his enjoyment of being in the field and taking on challenges like warrior skills training because it is so active. As a former soccer player, Mogel loves being on his feet and moving. 

“A lot of the stuff here has a baseline in fitness,” said Mogel, “So I feel like having that base athleticism has definitely helped.”

However, Mogel doesn’t believe this is the only factor helping him during his training. He also places a focus on his mental fortitude and leadership skills, especially with mentally stressful exercises like those found at warrior skills training.

Cadet Jocelyn Hall, 2nd Regiment, joined ROTC in order to improve her leadership and confidence skills. After graduation she plans to follow her father’s path and commission as a logistics officer. Through CST, Hall has learned that even on days where she doesn’t feel it, she must focus and get through it.

“My father is actually stationed here on Fort Knox right now,” said Hall, “After graduation I want to do logistics like him as a quartermaster.”

Cadet Conner McHolland from West Virginia University has been a member of the National Guard for two years now. McHolland joined ROTC for varying reasons. With a father who served as a US Army officer, Mcholland wishes to follow in his footsteps. 

“I also wanted to be the best version of myself I could possibly be,” said McHolland, “I knew this path was the best way I could do that.” 

Cadets have faced a plethora of challenges as part of CST, forcing them to tap into parts of themselves they didn’t know were there. McHolland expressed that CST has taught him that life’s difficulties, trials, and errors are what make you grow as a person. 

“Nobody can just walk up and be good at everything they do,” said McHolland, “So, a lot of times, going in and failing is the best way to succeed in the long run.” 

Mcholland shared that every Cadet is given a ranger handbook to help them prepare for warrior skills training. This handbook outlines the guide for warrior skills events and can aid incoming Cadets. With a desire to join active-duty infantry after graduation, McHolland restated his intentions of being the best version of himself he could be. 

“I feel like infantry is the tip of the spear,” said McHolland, “It’s pivotal in what it means to be a Soldier.” 

Each platoon is allotted an hour and fifteen minutes to complete each station. After time is up an air horn is sounded, and Cadets move down the line to their next station. 

The warrior skills event includes exercises that some Cadets have never done before. The time pressure highlights the importance of problem-solving skills for Cadets. McHolland said that focusing on working through this process is what will make Cadets stand out. Coming from different programs from all around the country, Cadets have differing levels of training experience. Mcholland said that being able to mesh well around these differences and form camaraderie despite them is just as important to training as the tactics learned at warrior skills training. 

2nd Regiment will now move on to their upcoming field training exercises with what they have learned about confidence, positivity, and leadership working to support their progress. CST calls for Cadets to push for the best version of themselves using these skills, no matter where they are coming from, or where they are going. 

“For future Cadets, I would say, don’t worry, it’s gonna be okay,” said McHolland, “It’s not as hard as it seems. It’s just something you need to lock in and get after.” 

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.