Basic Camp

Echo Company graduates LTC with pride, newly forged friendships

Cadet Kearns of John Carroll University recites the Soldier's Creed during Echo Company's graduation ceremony on August 1. Photo by Jake Pope.

Cadet Kearns of John Carroll University recites the Soldier’s Creed during Echo Company’s graduation ceremony on August 1. Photo by Jake Pope.

By Sydney Callis
Leader’s Training Course

As the grey clouds and fog covering Brooks Field gave way to sunshine, 163 Echo Company Cadets graduated Thursday from the Leader’s Training Course.

“It’s a big relief to graduate, and it instills a very high sense of pride in myself,” said Cadet Cynjun Salinas of Valley Forge Military Academy & College in Pennsylvania. “I’m sure it’s a mutual feeling for everyone involved.”

Throughout the progression of the 29-day training course on Fort Knox, Cadets in Echo Company grew close to their peers, built trust and watched out for their team.

“We’re like a family,” said Cadet Lisie Ramos, another Valley Forge student. “We have the mom, the dad, everything.”

With the creation of Facebook groups and future travel plans, Cadets are planning on staying in contact after they leave Fort Knox to return to their respective schools.

“Our squad was a very good group,” Ramos said. “We had a good bond. I’m from Miami, and they’ll be in Miami for spring break to visit me.”

Cadets went through each of the course’s activities together, and as it progressed, their teamwork improved with each challenge, culminating with the Situational Training Exercise, or STX lanes.

“Everybody was clicking, everybody was in sync and everybody understood what they had to do at the lanes,” Salinas said. “It was good interpersonal tact. When you work together and put your differences aside, you really get to know a person, and it builds friendships that last a while.”

Learning teamwork is a large part of the training course, but Cadets also learn to conquer fears and become leaders. Cadet Andre Russell, a student at Marion Military Institute in Alabama, said his experience helped him grow as a person.

“I came here very shy, but through all the challenges you learn to push yourself and get through everything, and I overcame it,” Russell said. “I would definitely recommend everyone come here, even if you’re not planning on coming into the military, you want to come here and learn how to be a better leader.”

Overcoming all the obstacles, Cadets are proud of their accomplishments and time at the training course.

“It feels good to get through everything and finally know everything is over, and I accomplished everything,” Ramos said. “I’m a better leader, and I learned to take care of my Soldiers.”

During the 29 days of intense training, Cadets are given a firsthand look at the Army lifestyle to see if it is for them. Ramos said the course strengthened her desire to join the military.

“The military is all I want,” Ramos said. “I can’t think of another career I’d want to do.”

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