FORT KNOX, Ky. — Cadets with 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed their Cadet Summer Training journey by embarking on their 12-mile ruck march, June 28, 2024. 

The 12-mile ruck march is completed in almost complete darkness, starting at 9:30 p.m. and lasting until 2:00 a.m. Faced with the challenge of the night, Cadets are required to carry most of their equipment, including their M4 Carbine rifles. Along the 12-mile route, checkpoints with arm immersion tanks were located for Cadets to cool down.

Before embarking on their march, 1st Regiment Cadets spent time preparing near the starting line. Here, they applied camouflage paint to their faces, consumed MREs, and readied their rucks for the night. Cadet Andy Wong, from UC Berkeley, expressed his excitement for the march as he sat around his fellow platoon members. 

“This is our last day of major activities here,” said Wang. “We’re going to overcome this 12-mile obstacle, and we’re going to get back to the barracks and celebrate.”

Wang mentioned that he thinks the strong bond among the members of his regiment has made everyone in their group more resilient and better equipped to face demanding tasks, such as the 12-mile march.

“We’ve had 35 days here with our platoons,” said Wang. “We have come a long way supporting each other, and we want to continue doing that in the future as U.S Army officers.”

At 9:30 p.m., the Cadets assembled near the starting point for their march. They must maintain formation throughout the night. At the forefront of each platoon is a Cadre member responsible for ensuring everyone stays in that formation. The Cadre then releases each Cadet one by one, sending them down the gravel road for the long haul ahead of them. 

Cadet Railey Legarreta, University of South Alabama, shared that she and her fellow platoon members feel more prepared now than they did at the start of camp. 

“We have been walking over three miles or more a day throughout CST,” said Legarreta. “This is definitely going to be a lot easier than it would’ve been if we had done this at the start of camp.” 

Cadets reached Fort Knox proper around 1:30 a.m. and finished their march at 2:30 a.m. Upon crossing the finish line, Cadre cheerfully congratulated them. After cooling off with arm immersion tanks, they were given a meal that included fresh food. Cadets ended the night in their beds, now ready for graduation and a step closer to their future as U.S. Army officers.

About the Author: Andrew Berger
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.