FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY – Cadets from 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp participated in land navigation training at Fort Knox, Ky., July 2, 2024. Land navigation tests the Cadet’s ability to read a map and transfer between points as they travel through unknown territory.

Cadets practiced land navigation from the night before, only having four hours to find their assigned coordinates. Cadet Tristan Robertson from Morehead University said that Cadets were exhausted from the previous land navigation expedition.

“I’m exhausted,” said Robertson. “We didn’t get much sleep last night, we had three to four hours asleep and then we came to land navigation at seven in the morning.”

As Cadets are given new destination points and would navigate through new territories, Robertson continues his path into bettering his future both military and civilian life.

“I joined ROTC because I wanted to join the military, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do,” said Robertson. “When I heard about our senior ROTC, I thought that it sounded like it would help set me up for my civilian career and my military career.”

Robertson served four years in the Army Reserves. He plans to branch into medical services and then go to a physical therapy school, saying that he wants to be a physical therapist for the army.

“My dream is to become a physical therapist and serve 20 years,” said Robertson. “Once I get my 20 years in and retire I want to be a physical therapist on the civilian side.”

Robertson said that his father is always there for him through all his mental trials, saying that he is his biggest supporter.

“He’s always been there for me,” said Robertson. “He’s always been a firm believer, even whenever I was an unbeliever myself. I’d be saying I can’t do this, but my dad alway said, ‘You can definitely do it, you just have to shoot for the stars and try to make it’.”

Robertson will continue his training with his father in the back of his mind, much like

Cadet Jacqueline Whalen from the University of Tampa. Whalen said that her father, a prior Marine, was her biggest supporter and inspiration.

“He was a sniper captain in the Marine Corps before he retired,” said Whalen. “When he left he became part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and I want to follow the same path that he did. All the stories that he’s talked about and all the challenges that he’s had to face seemed interesting to me.”

As she follows her father’s footsteps, she wants to work for federal law enforcement, aiming to be a logistics officer. She is currently in school for criminology, and joined the military to help make a better future for herself.

“I joined the military, mainly because it will be easier for me to go into federal law enforcement which makes me more competitive in the field,” said Whalen. “It just instills more discipline, and because people who haven’t been in the military that have tried to go, don’t have that same discipline.”

After completing land navigation, Cadets have to complete their night navigation. They will have to find their coordinates in the dark, leaving them to only their senses and the tools given.

About the Author: Elizabeth Peterson