FORT KNOX, Ky. (Army News Service, June 17, 2014) -- Leader's Training Course cadets tackled the Combat Water Survival Training section of their training Wednesday, at Gammon Physical Fitness Center, here.

Cadets found themselves facing yet another tough test of their mental and physical stamina. Combat Water Survival Training, known as CWST, teaches and refines swimming techniques and lifesaving procedures while fostering the growth of personal courage in the cadets.

Many aspects of CWST force the cadets to face whatever fears they may have in the water.

Hector Reyes, Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadet at Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, said he is experienced in CWST, but still finds the task difficult to complete.

"This is my third time doing CWST," Reyes said. "Every time it is difficult, but the cadre is there to motivate me and give me tips on how to improve. Each time it gets easier."

During CWST, cadets must not only swim in full uniform, but must also complete a timed 100 meter swim with vest and rifle, making the already difficult swim into a more cumbersome and challenging experience.

Erik Stembridge, Army ROTC cadet at University of Wyoming, completed the Leader's Training Course program last year, after his sophomore year, and has returned this year through an Army ROTC internship called the Coach-Mentoring program.

Stembridge, who will take on the Leader Development and Assessment course in July, has the opportunity to refine his leadership skills by leading new Leader's Training Course cadets through their training this summer at Fort Knox.

He said the types of training Leader's Training Course offers, especially CWST, will change the cadets for the better and prepare them for LDAC.

"You learn everything at LTC (the Leader's Training Course)," Stembridge said. "When I did LTC, I gained a ton of experience. The best part is, you get to take that knowledge back to your school and help improve your own university's program. You can't learn leadership skills anywhere else like you can at LTC."

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