Some U.S. Military Academy Class of 2020 Cadets got to experience the "sound of artillery" last week during Cadet Field Training. To clarify, that sound is (a very loud) BOOM!During Field Artillery Day at Camp Buckner, cadets are given the opportunity to explore one of the 17 possible branches they could commission into upon graduating as second lieutenants in the United States Army. Throughout the course of the day, cadets learn how to plan, call for and execute indirect fires using artillery and mortar fire with live rounds."The main thing that we are training out here is the common Soldier task of calling for fire, calling and adjusting indirect fire rounds from both 105mm howitzers and 81mm mortars," Capt. Ryan Scott explained. "That's the one event that's graded and one event that's common, no matter what your job is, you need to know how to call and adjust indirect fire rounds."In addition to learning the basics of FA, cadets interact with lieutenants and Soldiers from the task force from the 10th Mountain Division who came to West Point for the summer detail from Fort Drum, New York."They get to see that team in action and those good professional working relationships making their task happen," Scott explained.In addition to observing working relationships in the fields, the cadets get to explore the three main jobs they could perform as a Field Artillery lieutenant: Fire Support Officer, Fire Direction Officer or Platoon Leader."They get to see people who have graduated in the last one or two years and they're doing exactly what they were trained to do," Scott said. "But even if they don't go FA, everybody's got to know how to call for fire, or if they go infantry, they need to know all the moving pieces that it takes… you get to see how that process works."Cadet Jeffrey Reffert knows that the opportunity to participate in FA Day has been a unique experience."If you don't branch FA as an enlisted guy or as an officer, there aren't many Soldiers in the other parts of the Army, besides West Point, who actually see this stuff," he said. "It's just really neat to be on the ground with these guys, train with them and have them instruct us in what they do, and to see it with our own eyes is a rare privilege for us as cadets."This experience has possibly changed the trajectory of his and other cadets' lives."So a lot of us have actually changed our branch choices from infantry or armor, over to field artillery today based on this training that we see here," Reffert remarked. "A lot of it is the excitement of feeling the rounds going off. The fact that pointing the plots and going thru the training and being immersed within the field artillery unit itself is just phenomenal. The culture of the branch itself is unbelievable."Cadet Jackson Huffstetler had a similar experience."I was coming into CFT leaning more towards infantry but today, definitely pushed me over to field artillery," he said, noting that his father was an FA officer. "I've probably committed myself to field artillery at this point, unless one of the other branches during CFT stands out."And while not every cadet has committed themselves to becoming an FA officer, most say they had a good time trying out a new skill."It was an experience, it was definitely cooler than I thought it would be and I already thought it would be cool," Cadet Akil Johnson said. "So I mean the sound and the explosion and everyone calling out orders, it seems like it's a lot, but it's a lot of teamwork too, so everything is kind of easy when everybody works together."Johnson is looking forward to what other tasks CFT has in store."This is the first major training event that we've had," he explained. "This whole lane was something that I'd heard a little bit about before, but it was really cool to actually experience what they go through."Throughout the course of the month, cadets going through CFT will have the opportunity to explore other Army branches and participate in branch-specific tasks, ending with the CFT runback on July 30.