Last Updated: July 3rd, 2024By

FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY — During Cadet Summer Training, future Army officers come together and build bonds they will learn from and cherish for the rest of their lives. On July 3, 2024, Cadets with 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp continue to build those bonds and understand everyone’s individual leadership practices, while at the Field Leadership Reaction Course on Fort Knox.

Bonds, however, go way beyond the people that these Cadets interact with over the course of the 35 days of CST. Back home these Cadets have families, friends and loved ones that inspire them to continue pushing and remember their why.

“My dad was a Marine for years and my grandfather was in the Air Force and while I never really experienced military life, over the years they have both talked about their experiences during their time in the service,” said Cadet Abigail Sundberg from Virginia Tech. “With that, my dad has always pushed me to learn new things, try my hardest and challenge myself. When I showed interest in ROTC, he did not falter and has continued to support me in all my decisions.”

The military lifestyle is not something that every Cadet experiences or is knowledgeable about before even considering ROTC. “I am the first person in my family to have any interest in the military. This has been a learning journey for me and despite the several changes made in my college career, my family has continued to support me during the entire process,” said Cadet Taylor Bartley from Northern Michigan University.

Even during the heat of training Cadets must remember why they are here and the people who helped their forward projection. Cadet Rusguendy Francois from Norwich University in Vermont gives credit to his mother for everything she has done and sacrificed for him. While in ROTC, he wants to return the favor.

“My mom is my biggest inspiration because she brought me to America and continues to prove to never give up and that I can do hard things,” said Francois.

Francois was born and raised in Haiti, only moving to America in 2012. In the year he moved to the United States, he experienced the massive earthquake that devastated the country and those in surrounding areas.

After seeing the tragedy that earthquake left, he noticed how medical service members worked to save as many people as possible. Seeing how those individuals changed and saved so many lives, inspires him to branch medical services when the time comes.

Family and the connections that they have to these Cadets encourages Cadets to put into perspective why they are here. As Cadet Grace Gleason from George Washington University in Washington D.C. said, “CST is a learning experience for both me and my family. With what I learn it will not only make me tougher, but much more appreciative of my family and those who support me.” 

About the Author: Morgan Edwards