FORT KNOX, Ky. — The population at Fort Knox booms during the summer, as cadets make the Army installation their home for a few weeks of training. Cadets going into their senior year of college learn skills they will need to know as officers in the Army.
This is the largest training event in the country. There are more than seven thousand rising seniors, in 11 regiments. This training started in May and now it’s finishing up with the last group in a few weeks.
The cadets at Fort Knox took different paths to get there.
“Initially I joined just to pay for school but as time progressed, I look to make a career out of it,” University of Alabama cadet Tyriq Whiting said.
“From a very young age I saw all of the very cool stuff the Army got to do such as this, all the cool equipment we got to work with, all the cool situations we got to experience,” Colorado School of Mines cadet Wesley Linder said.
In this training – they become a team. Men and women from all over the country are here to learn basic skills that all soldiers need to know.
“These are cadets that are going through ROTC at their home universities wherever it is that they’re from,” Capt. Austin Hamilton, the OIC at CBRN training, said.
They come to Fort Knox for 35 days and are evaluated on their leadership potential while receiving training. This past week, that included CBRN training, or knowing how to operate in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear contaminated environment.
As part of this training, they learned how to properly put on gas masks. Then they went into a gas chamber to gain confidence in their equipment by taking the mask off.
“It was very spicy when you get it into your lungs,” Linder said. “It is very itchy and just very irritating.”
After they graduate from this training, the cadets will go home to their universities and finish their degrees. Once they earn their degrees, they will earn their new titles.
“They’ll commission as officers into the Army, second lieutenants, and they’ll go into the active, guard, and reserve components of the Army and start leading America’s sons and daughters as second lieutenants,” Capt. Hamilton said.