By Kirstyann ColeJuly 18, 2018
Under spotted shade from the trees, cadets from 5th Regiment Basic Camp and 2nd Platoon, Delta Company, 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp met Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley July 18 during their field training exercises.
When he first arrived, Milley visited 2nd Platoon's patrol base as cadets prepared for an ambush. He took a moment to speak with them, watch them strategize, and give them coins.
Milley then traveled to the ambush site. There, he watched their plan unfold.
As four individuals from the opposing force appeared, shots erupted. Milley moved in toward the action to gain a closer perspective on how the cadets moved and communicated.
"That process that you're learning on a simple patrol here in the woods of Fort Knox, Kentucky, if you apply it, internalize it, you think it through, that'll stay with you for your whole life," Milley explained to the cadets.
At the after action review later, cadets discussed what happened during the mission: successes, failures, improvements to make and tactics to sustain.
In each field training exercise, cadre members afford cadets an opportunity to learn and improve themselves to become better leaders and teammates. Milley stressed that soon, the cadets will be using their experiences to lead fellow Soldiers while serving the country.
"You're doing something important," Milley asserted. "You're a very, very small percentage of the American people that have decided that you would volunteer, raise your right hand, and at some point here in the next year, when you get commissioned, you'll swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. Not many Americans are doing that."
Milley encouraged the cadets to take seriously the oath they would soon be swearing.
"This country stands for something and when we swear an oath to an idea, we swear an oath to a document, the Constitution of the United States of America, and that's important, that's fundamental," Milley stated. "When you do that, what you're saying is you are willing to die ... you're willing to die for an idea."
Toward the end of his visit, Milley witnessed Basic Camp cadets taking on an ambush as one of their first experiences working in the field. Milley took the opportunity, following the attack, to talk with the cadets about their decision to join the Army. He also handed out coins to those who could answer small trivia questions.
"This is where it all begins," he told the cadets. "The stuff you're learning right here, just on this little ambush. This should stay with you the rest of your life."