Story by Alex Mclaughlin
Feature Photo by Erica Lafser
FORT KNOX, Kentucky –
Leaders Training Course cadets tackled the Combat Water Survival Training section of their training this week at Gammon Physical Fitness Center.
Cadets found themselves facing another tough test of their mental and physical stamina. CWST teaches and refines swimming techniques, lifesaving procedures and fosters the growth of personal courage in the cadets.
Many aspects of CWST forces the cadets to face whatever fears they may have in the water.
Hector Reyes, ROTC cadet at Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, said he is experienced in CWST, but still finds the task difficult to complete.
“This is my third time doing CWST,” Reyes said. “Every time it is difficult, but cadre are there to motivate me and give me tips on how to improve. Each time it gets easier.”
During CWST, cadets must not only swim in full uniform, but must also complete a timed swim with vest and rifle, making the already difficult swim into a more cumbersome and challenging experience.
Erik Stembridge, ROTC cadet at University of Wyoming, completed the LTC program last year after his sophomore year and has returned this year to LTC through ROTC internship called the Coach-Mentoring program.
Stembridge, who will take on the Leaders Development and Assessment course in July, has the opportunity to refine his leadership skills by leading new LTC cadets through their training this summer at Fort Knox.
Stembridge said the types of training LTC offers, especially CWST, will change the cadets for the better and prepare them for LDAC.
“You learn everything at LTC,” Stembridge said. “When I did LTC I gained a ton of experience. The best part is you get to take that knowledge back to your school and help improve your own University’s program. You can’t learn leadership skills anywhere else like you can at LTC.”