Last Updated: July 6th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, Kentucky – Across the 35 days of Cadet Summer Training, each new challenge brings an opportunity to learn more about each other. 

Cadet Lily Christensen, 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, from Appalachian State University, views CST as an opportunity to grow in herself and as a leader. 

“I’m learning a lot about myself so far in terms of how I interact with other people, the importance of relationships, and how to build relationships with people from all over the country,” Christensen said. 

Christensen encourages others to find joy in each day. From singing silly songs during their cadences to learning each other’s favorite foods, each small moment is a chance to grow closer with fellow Cadets. The bonds that she has created with the members of her platoon motivates her to excel at each new task. 

“It is super important to make the most of those little moments and have as many of them as you can,” Christensen said. “Find the good. Find the funny.” 

While Christensen is meeting people from all over the country, two Cadets with an invisible string have been brought together. 

Cadets Ashley Lu, University of California, Berkeley and Ava Morena, Pennsylvania State University are from the same hometown. They are both from Long Island, Ny., but now attend their respective universities on opposite sides of the country. With no prior knowledge of one another, CST has brought them together. 

They live in the same barrack and are in the same squad and platoon. Now, they are inseparable.  

“We’re battle buddies, I don’t go anywhere without her,” Lu said. 

These Cadets along with 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp completed their Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear training. CBRN trains Cadets to prepare for incidents involving those specific hazards. Specifically at CST, it builds trust between the Cadets and their equipment.

Lu, hesitant about CBRN training, accomplished the task with her battle buddy by her side.

After a series of tasks to test their equipment, the final test for Cadets is taking off their gas mask. 

“It definitely was a lot easier because we had our peers with us,” Lu said. “At the beginning, I was really nervous. Seeing everyone else going through the same thing made me feel a lot better.”

About the Author: Kendall Kelly