FORT CARSON, Color. -- Fifteen years ago, a young Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet prepared to spend his summer at Fort Lewis, Washington, to attend Cadet Summer Training (CST).
Michael Kovalsky, now a major with 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment "Lethal Warriors," 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, is returning to CST - but this time at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and no longer as a cadet.
He said the training he received during CST 15 years ago helped him prepare and familiarize himself with his future career in the Army.
"CST is not only the largest annual training event in the United States Army (according to a National Guard Bureau information paper), but it is also one of the most important," said Kovalsky. "(The training) tests the cadets' ability to plan, lead and also to (evaluate) their technical and tactical skills."
The Soldiers of the battalion will support the first rotation of U.S. Army Cadet Command cadets, with the second rotation being supported by the Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 2nd IBCT, according to Lt. Col. Jose Vasquez.
"The battalions' primary purpose at CST is to train cadets and support CST operations," said Vasquez, commander, 2nd Bn., 12th Inf. Reg., 2nd IBCT. "The battalion is responsible for all tactical training events to include basic rifle marksmanship, buddy-team live fire, hand grenade and land navigation, to list a few."
As a product of CST, Vasquez said he is honored to have the opportunity to return to where everything started for him.
"My introduction to the Army was as a Basic Camp cadet, at the end of that summer, I was sure the Army was for me and signed a contract to become an Army officer," he said. "I was very impressed by the professionalism and competence of infantry battalions supporting our training, leading me to request a commission as an infantry officer, and this is where I first came to fully understand the role officers are expected to fill in our profession of arms."
Vasquez said he hopes the Soldiers of his battalion are able to challenge the cadets both mentally and physically to allow them to be prepared leaders.
"I want to ensure the cadets leave (CST) knowing what is expected of Soldiers by ensuring the lethal warriors establish a reputation for discipline and professionalism," said Vasquez. "Second, I want cadets to experience a professionally run and exceptional training event, allowing them to learn what is expected of a leader."
Aside from honing their technical and tactical skills, Kovalsky said he hopes cadets gain an understanding of how the Army works as a whole.
"I would hope that the cadets come out of (CST) knowing that there are a variety of different jobs in the Army, and that they are all equally important," he explained. "One cannot exist without the other, and not everyone needs to be an infantry officer."