By Sgt. James Avery, 1st Brigade Combat Team JournalistJuly 21, 2017
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- During the summer months, Soldiers and leaders from 1st Brigade Combat Team at Fort Drum travel to the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point to train and mentor cadets to become the future leaders of the U.S. Army.
This year, Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team's 7th Engineer Battalion; the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, and the 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, trained second-, third- and fourth-year cadets on basic rifle marksmanship, battlefield clearance and squad communications. Cadets learn to "shoot, move and communicate" throughout the battlespace so they may take that knowledge with them through graduation and into their careers in the Army.
Soldiers are built from the ground up, and cadets at USMA are no exception. Throughout a three-day-long marksmanship course, 1st Brigade Combat Team officers, noncommissioned officers and Soldiers trained cadets on breathing techniques to steady rifles during firing and how to stay calm and focused during range qualifications.
Zach Zimmerman, a third-year cadet at USMA and 1st Company squad leader, said the training he received from 1st Brigade Combat Team Soldiers was invaluable.
"We're indebted to the Soldiers from 1st BCT," Zimmerman said. "It means a lot to be able to learn from experienced leaders and Soldiers. They treat us with professionalism and respect."
Throughout their time at West Point, cadets learn not only the basics of Soldiering, but also how to be leaders. Understanding the job of the lowest-ranking Soldier is just as important as knowing the job of the highest-ranking officer. They are taught to respect all of them, regardless of rank.
Sgt. 1st Class William Schmidt, an infantry NCO assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, said it was a privilege to help train USMA cadets as future leaders.
"Having experienced infantrymen instruct is beneficial for the cadets," he said. "You can tell that in the short time that we get to train these cadets, they're eager to learn all they can, and that just makes our job that much easier."
At West Point, the result is a USMA graduate who can lead from the front, give and take orders professionally and respectfully, and accomplish the mission, regardless of the situation. Being a part of that education is not a task that 1st Brigade Combat Team Soldiers take lightly, and cadets appreciate their efforts.
"We wouldn't learn what we need to know without them," Zimmerman said. "I'm very grateful for all their knowledge and experience."