By: Katie McGuire, Photos by William Kolb
Today marks the 27th of 28 days of training for Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) 9th Regiment, and it’s perhaps the best day yet. This is the day the cadets get to see their families for the first time during their monthlong program at the CIET Family Day event.
The morning started off with a welcome breakfast, and the families were able to enjoy a slideshow of the different training events the cadets completed. Some of these included: the gas chamber, rappel tower, shooting range, first aid, and many more events that train their cadets in becoming future army officers.
The CIET cadets, who range from freshmen to sophomores (MSI or MSII), arrived in early July to complete this program as a part of their training in becoming 2nd lieutenants in the U.S. Army. This particular program offers experience for the cadets in what it takes, both mentally and physically, to be leaders in the Army.
Later, Col. Sean Gainey, Deputy Commanding Officer, U.S. Army Cadet Command, spoke to the crowd. Gainey broke down the 28-day program to the parents in terms of the four phases the cadets faced; Phase I: Pre-Deployment training, Phase II: Pre-Rotational training, Phase III: Mission Context Leadership exercise and finally Phase IV: Recovery/Reflection/Departure, the phase the cadets are currently in.
After the presentation, Gainey opened the floor up for any questions the families might have about what the future holds for their cadets.
Finally, the parents waited anxiously as the cadets of CIET 9th Regiment lined in formation in the front of Abrams Theater until they were given permission to see their families. Once the cadets were released, it was easy to find smiling faces and a lot of hugging done by proud parents throughout the crowd.
Pete Ehlenfeldt, a proud parent of his cadet, Jenna Ehlenfeldt from St. Louis University, was just one of many parents in the crowd.
“During their childhood, I spoke to them about duty, honor and respect, so for her to come to me on her own to do this has filled me with pride,” he explained. He continued to explain that he feels his daughter has never felt surer about anything in her life than when she made the decision to join the Army and come to this camp. Ehlenfeldt said when he spoke with his daughter earlier about her experience, she shared that one of the most significant things she will remember from Cadet Summer Training was the lesson that if you fail at first, go back and try again.
After the heartfelt reunion, families were able to take their cadets to the family banquet or off base for the day. Tomorrow, the cadets will stand at their final event, the graduation ceremony and celebrate their accomplishments at Fort Knox CST.