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Newly commissioned officers arrive at Knox to help with CST

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By LT. COL. THOMAS GENTER

Another busy summer at Fort Knox recently began with the arrival of key personnel and leaders from across U.S. Army Cadet Command for Cadet Summer Training.

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Similar to other years, a large contingent of recently commissioned second lieutenants will spend their summer as observers, coaches, trainers, committee staff officers, and opposing force platoon leaders prior to attending their branch’s Basic Officer Leader Course in the fall.

Cadet Summer Training cadre, with support from about
1,000 second lieutenants, will provide training on basic Soldier skills and leader development opportunities for third-year Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets, also known as MSIIIs, from across the nation.

The first batch of officers arrived in mid-May and were immediately put to work filling out processing paperwork, taking online training courses for computer access, and then sent to Burke Motorpool for vehicle licensing and dispatch.

Second Lt. Jessica Mozie, from South Carolina State University and assigned to Advanced Camp Tactics as the S1 personnel officer, said she is glad to be at Fort Knox.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about my job as a newly commissioned [Adjutant General] officer, be with my peers, network with others and start my Army career,” she said.

Mozie and 23 other second lieutenants were among the first to arrive at the Fort Knox Copple Center and be greeted by Col. Richard Garey, a professor of Military Science at Penn State University. As the deputy commanding officer of Advanced Camp Tactics and a four-year CST veteran, Garey took charge of the new officers, counseling them on their responsibilities and high expectations for the summer.

Before the summer is complete, Advanced Camp Tactics will receive 60 junior officers to
assist with the management of multiple training areas and cadet field training exercises.

Once the lieutenants finished in-processing, they were sent to the field with shovels, weed whackers, and brush hogs to clear overgrown vegetation and build “objectives” in training areas 8, 9, 10 and 12 — also known as Wolverine, Grizzly and Panther. Many of the lieutenants said they were surprised by the hard, sweaty work, but were left with a feeling of accomplishment.

Second Lt. Mitchell Beekman, from Central Michigan University, agreed that his summer will be a great experience because he will be “doing all the things I will be doing as a second lieutenant; receiving missions, then planning, preparing and executing missions. It’s a head start before I get to [Basic Officer Leadership Course].”

Training areas, tactical assembly areas, and objectives are required to be set up prior to field training exercises. During the exercises, cadets must assume leadership roles at the platoon level and are evaluated on their leadership ability to plan, prepare and execute tactical operations. While they learn, an opposing force, commonly called OPFOR, will provide realistic scenarios that are tailored to the cadets. More than 6,400 officers, noncommissioned officers and Department of the Army civilians are needed to implement this exercise.

Another critical component to the lieutenants’ summer is professional development.

In accordance with U.S. Army Cadet Command policies, the cadre members must plan and execute a second lieutenant professional development program that prepares newly commissioned officers for effective service in the Army.

The program includes regular counseling, a reading and writing program, online discussion boards with senior leaders and physical fitness. Since their arrival, the second lieutenants have participated in five leader professional development sessions to include physical security, property accountability, financial liability investigations into property loss, officer-NCO relations and leader expectations.