Basic Camp

Cadet Comes Home

By: Adrienne Vititoe

“I’ve moved eight times and I’ve lived in, like, six different states,” said Samuel Rob, CIET cadet from Princeton University. Both of Rob’s parents served in the Army as lawyers in the Judge Advocate General Corps, so growing up, he never stayed in one place for long.

This is a pretty typical story when it comes to the adolescence of someone with parents in the military, and it is a life some might pity, but Rob offered a different perspective.

“I always saw moving as an exciting time to start over again,” he said.

One of the moves Rob and his family made was to Fort Knox in 2001 where they lived on post for the next four years.

After a decade, Rob had the opportunity to return to his old neighborhood on CIET first regiment’s Family Day.

Cadet Rob stands in front of the house where he lived 10 years ago.

Cadet Rob stands in front of the house where he lived 10 years ago.

“I remember taking a family photo in that tree,” he pointed out, while walking through the backyard of his childhood. “As a young kid here I played around different places. I’d go on bike rides with my dad and brother out to where the tanks used to train and we found these big fossils. It’s a neat place to grow up.”

As a child on post, Rob attended Kingsolver Elementary School. Wednesday he discovered that it was no longer in use. Rob was touched to see it closed as it had come to mean a lot to him over the years.

Cadet Rob stands beside his alma mater.

Cadet Rob stands beside his alma mater.

“On the civilian side, teachers are just teachers, but when Dad was deployed, my teachers were more than just teachers,” Rob explained. “They were like extended family to me. It’s a very different childhood and I think that, to me, is kind of the epitome of what the Army does. It’s more than just a job. We view it as a lifestyle.”

Cadet Rob stands outside Kingsolver Elementary by a sign that was there when he attended.

Cadet Rob stands outside Kingsolver Elementary by a sign that was there when he attended.

Rob said he believes growing up in this environment has been a great influence on his decision to join the United States Army.

“The Army has given me so much in making me the well-rounded person that I am today that I can’t imagine not giving back to it through military service,” he said. “America maintains the best profession of arms in the world purely on a volunteer basis, and a lot of it is people who want to serve their Army stepping up with no experience in the military at all. But a large chunk of the foundation is those Army brats, those kids of military officers, despite what would seem to a lot of families as traumatic experiences, you know, of moving all the time, having family deployed.”

For Rob, those experiences were anything but traumatic.

“Walking around my old school, even though it’s all abandoned, was really redolent of those days,” he said. “It’s all part of what has made me who I am. I’ll always carry it with me. It’s a testament of that Army lifestyle that you just can’t find anywhere else.”

 

Cadet Rob reminisces about walking through the doors on his first day at Kingsolver.

Cadet Rob reminisces about walking through the doors on his first day at Kingsolver.

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Adrienne Vititoe

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