Colin Shipp of Elizabethtown, along with the more than 600 other cadets that made up the 7th Regiment, could be found last week in the wilderness of Fort Knox.
The cadets spent roughly 14 days during Advanced Camp of Cadet Summer Training completing field training exercises, which included a mission to assault an objective held by an opposing force, establish security and assess casualties before proceeding to conduct an after-action review.
Master Sgt. Nicholas Cage, an ROTC instructor at University of West Florida, said the 37-day Advanced Camp focuses on problem solving in an operational setting to develop leader competencies, intangible traits and attributes that allow leaders to thrive in challenging conditions.
“The cadets will experience something here they will never experience again. You leave the barracks and you won’t go back to the barracks until 14 days later,” Cage said. “They are out in the woods every night. It is pretty unique.”
After each mission during the field training exercise, Cage said the group undergoes a leadership change. In total, there are six leaders: platoon leader, platoon sergeant and four squad leaders.
The cadres watch cadets in these positions and evaluate their leadership attributes and competencies while they are leading a mission, as well as collectively how the platoon did, Cage said.
Shipp, who on Friday already had experienced each leadership role, said although he is not that good with land navigation, he scored proficients in his leadership roles.
Shipp, who attends the University of Kentucky, said the field training experience was “good.” Both of Shipp’s parents are former military, which contributed to his decision to go through ROTC and pursue an Army career.
Also participating in field training with the 7th Regiment was Rick Goodman, who has 12 years military experience and is stationed at Fort Knox.
Previously stationed in Missouri at Fort Leonard Wood, Goodman decided to participate in the Green to Gold program, which is designed to allow qualified young enlisted soldiers to return to college, receive their baccalaureate degree and earn a commission as an Army officer.
He was accepted into the University of Louisville for his graduate degree and also went there for his bachelors. His major is in human resources and organizational development.
“Before coming here, I was actually a instructor who taught newly commissioned students so it is a little different being on the other side and trying to become a lieutenant,” he said.
Goodman said he wanted to move to an officer career track because he felt he could do more.
Goodman said he already knew a lot of the leadership skills taught during Advanced Camp, but did not know some of the tactics.
“I was not an infantry man before, I was a common engineer and I was in mechanized units. You didn’t really walk around the woods that much,” he said. “That’s been somewhat challenging for me.”
Goodman has a wife and two children who live at Fort Knox. Being so close to home, he said he often looks out the window of the bus as the cadets travel, thinking he might see them.
“It’s comforting to know that when I graduate I will be home in less than five minutes,” he said.
Aside from the field training, other activities for cadets include basic rifle marksmanship, map reading, first aid, land navigation, call-for-fire training, chemical confidence course and a 12-mile march.
Cadet Summer Training is the largest annual training event in the Army. Ten thousand cadets from around the country attend training in Basic or Advanced Camp.
Additionally, approximately 1,500 other cadets participate in other opportunities such as professional development, internships and the Cadet Coalition Warfighter Program.