Last Updated: June 13th, 2024By

“Keep pushing through, keep your head up and know you’ll get through it,” said Cadet Ryan Cuzmar from the University of New Mexico, 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp. June 6, 2024, on Fort Knox, Ky. Cuzmar was firing his M4-A1 Carbine at a target during a group and zero exercise, a vital part of the hands-on weapons training provided to cadets on Fort Knox.

Cuzmar, who enlisted in the New Mexico National Guard in 2021, has been preparing diligently for Cadet Summer Training. His preparation has included a year of ROTC classes combined with the experience gained during his basic training and service with his National Guard unit.

“Tomorrow, I’ll be qualifying at the Individual Weapons Qualification with the M4-A1 Carbine,” said Cuzmar. His confidence backed by his extensive preparation and the skills he has honed both in his ROTC and through his prior service. “This has been more fun than challenging for me,” he added, reflecting on his time at CST.

Cuzmar’s aspirations extend beyond his current training. He plans to commission in the Georgia National Guard and branch into the Engineering Corps Armory. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in American Studies, a field he finds enriching. His mother, a Lieutenant Colonel, has played a significant role in supporting him through his time at Fort Knox, providing invaluable insight and encouragement.

“I want a change in scenery, to explore new places and take on new challenges,” said Cuzmar, expressing his desire to branch into the Cyber Corps. His ambitions are clear: “My goals include making it through CST while also providing support to the cadets within my platoon so they all can pass as well. From there, I want to commission and lead soldiers to their path of success and be the leader that my soldiers will come to in their time of need.”

Cuzmar’s positive impact is evident to those around him. “Cuzmar is a great guy! He is a very solid cadet, always where he needs to be and on time. He’s someone who is always in a great state of mind and has a leader’s mentality,” said fellow cadet Seth Farfan.

Captain Nicholas Laramee, an assistant professor of military science from Montana State University, also noted Cuzmar’s dedication. “Cadet Cuzmar has worked well with his team and his squad, creating standard operating procedures and preparing themselves for the tactics lanes,” said Laramee. “Cuzmar is incredibly motivated and eager to learn.”

As Advanced Camp progresses, cadets like Cuzmar will continue to engage in a variety of activities. These include additional exercises designed to build competence and confidence in future leaders.

“For those who are coming later in the summer, it’s a great experience. We’re learning some great techniques and skills not only from the cadre but from other cadets as well. These skills will help you not only in the army but in life as well,” said Cuzmar.

As Cuzmar pushes through his training, he does so with the support and camaraderie of his peers and the guidance of his instructors. The lessons learned and the bonds formed during this time are integral to their development as future leaders in the U.S. Army.

Cuzmar’s journey at Fort Knox is a testament to his dedication and the support system around him. His mother’s military background, his ROTC training, and his own resilience have all played a part in shaping the leader he is becoming. As he looks forward to the next steps in his military career, his words of encouragement and his example serve as an inspiration to his fellow cadets.

“Keep pushing through, keep your head up and know you’ll get through it,” remains not just a motto for Cuzmar, but a lived experience as he navigates the challenges of Cadet Summer Training.

About the Author: Victor Mejia-Jeronimo