By Emily Mulcahey
Nerves, complimented by smiles, were prevalent as the first regiment of cadets began to file their in-processing paperwork in order to begin their Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) at Fort Knox, Ky. this summer.
Many of the cadets on base this summer will be rising seniors, completing their Cadet Leader Course (CLC). However, cadets in CIET are typically those who are either officially contracted with the military and did not attend basic training, or are just here this summer to see “if the shoe fits.”
Well—to see if the boots fit, anyway.
“I always said I wouldn’t join,” laughs Cadet Braxton Swanke of the University of Texas at Austin, “but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew the Army would help me.” Swanke comes from a long family line of military personnel, and felt it was his best option. He is excited to gain credentials as well as leadership knowledge this summer.
Cadet Johanna Jimenez Torres, a nursing major at Southern University
and A&M College, La., echoes that opinion, “I’m a little nervous,” she admits, “but I know it’s going to be a great experience.” The main focus of Cadet Summer Training (CST) is to teach cadets how to be leaders. The weather is hot, the work is exhausting, but the outcome is priceless. These men and women are the future leaders of the United States Army, and the importance of the decisions they will make one day fully resonates with their superiors. The cadets may be excited to learn as much as they can, but the cadre are equally as eager to teach.
“As NCOs, most of us have been in the Army for a long time,” commented Sgt. 1st Class Chris Lavalette, “so, one of the things that we try to do is pass on our knowledge as best we can.”
This outlook is important for those embarking on CIET with next-to-no experience, like Cadet Brian Sydow from Claremont McKenna College in California. Sydow has always had an interest in the military, but has not taken a single ROTC class and has just recently decided to pursue this interest. While he is not sure what to expect this summer, his inspiration for joining the military is on par with the attitude it takes to make a great Soldier.
“I’m from a town where nobody really serves in the military,” he said, “and I just felt like that was kind of weird. I’m really interested in it, and I felt that it was a duty of people who have a somewhat privileged background to serve in the military.”
These cadets came to Fort Knox knowing that they were coming to work, that they will face exhaustion, and that they will be pushed to limits they may not even know they have. They know this, yet each and every one still arrived “on the minute” and ready to go.
That dedication, that drive—that is what makes them part of the one percent.