Fort Knox, Ky. (June 3, 2015) - U.S. Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps Cadet Summer Training (CST) kicked off here, June 3, and will host nearly 14,000 cadets and active-duty and Reserve cadets and soldiers throughout the summer.

"We're coming together for the Army's largest leader development course at the Army's premiere officer training post," said Col. Blaine Hedges, commandant for Cadet Summer Training. "I can think of no greater honor than laying the foundation for the future leaders of America in the profession of arms."

CST, which will rotate through 10 Cadet Leader Course (CLC) regiments and nine Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) regiments, is a rigorous, four-week exercise that will see nearly 9,000 cadets come through before the final graduation ceremony on Aug. 13.

As part of the Army's plan to adapt the leadership training to meet the needs of today's future leaders, each training program has undergone a name change to better align the training goals with their end states.

Starting this summer, CIET replaces Leader Training Course as an outcome-driven training event that trains and educates cadets on select, basic military skills from individual tasks to squad level, and continues to build a foundation to establish the critical thinking skills necessary to become an Army officer.

Replacing Leader Development and Assessment Course, CLC is a "capstone" summer training event that all ROTC cadets must complete between their junior and senior years. Each cadet arrives at CLC with baseline knowledge of military skills and will have developed critical thinking and problem-solving abilities during their time in college. During the summer, the cadets will focus on solving complex problems at the company-level and will develop their small-unit leadership ability in a tactical environment.

But, the cadets can't get proper training without the expertise of current soldiers.

Hedges, whose regular job is commander of Cadet Command's 7th Brigade at Fort Knox, explained the Army has assembled the largest "pickup team" in a training environment and that the key to cadets' success is engaged leadership.

More than 4,500 highly-skilled active duty and Reserve soldiers will work side by side this summer to assist in preparing the future leaders by providing training in first aid, basic rifle marksmanship, tactical leadership, live fire and land navigation, among others.

The soldiers are also providing support in areas of general administration, chaplain assistance, supply, laundry and cooking.

Among the units represented is the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson in Colorado, which stood up as Task Force Lethal for CST; that unit is the headquarters for all active-duty soldiers assigned to the mission.

The 104th Training Division out of Joint Base ewis-McChord in Washington state, better known as Task Force Wolf during the training, is leading the charge for all Reserve units providing support for the mission.

The objective of CST is for the cadets to leave Fort Knox better prepared than when they arrived, said Hedges.

"We're here to create leaders for life," he added.