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FORT KNOX, Kentucky (March 25, 2021) – The COVID-19 virus has caused many organizations to change the way they have been doing business, and Cadet Command has also had to make adjustments on how it does business to continue to ensure Cadets are well-trained and ready for their future roles as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.
ROTC students have seen some of those changes in the implementation of Operation Agile Leader last year to ensure Cadets were still able to gain the training they would have normally received at CST 2020. Now a year later, the command is able to offer Cadet Summer Training in person at Fort Knox again, with just a few adjustments.
Cadets will see a few differences in the training schedule compared to the last time CST was held in person at Fort Knox in 2019. While training will be very similar, this year it will not include the buddy-team live-fire event or hand grenade familiarization with live grenades.
COVID-19 precautions with be followed throughout training, according to Maj. Joshua Wade, CST Programs Manager.
“The most powerful weapons to fight COVID-19 are currently those designed to prevent transmission,” he said. “These will be relied upon significantly during CST to mitigate risk and include: social distancing, quarantine, platooning (cocooning) groups of individuals, respiratory and personal hygiene practices, cleaning and disinfection, and isolation of probable/suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.”
“The cocooning of cadets into groups of 40-50 max will be leveraged to the greatest extent. No cadet will cross into another cadet cocoon. If this can’t be avoided both the wearing of face mask and maximizing of social distancing must be adhered to,” added Wade.
He went on to explain that detection methods for CST will primarily focus upon enhanced screening methods to include daily temperature checks during training and increased surveillance screening of all Cadets and cadre for symptoms. CST will, in addition, implement two COVID tests, one upon reporting and one on day 8 or 9 of the training cycle.
If a case of COVID-19 is detected, rapid isolation of suspected/probable COVID-19 cases and consultation with the local base/locality public health teams is the primary response tool. Contact tracing will also be implemented. Only those cadets testing positive for COVID will be placed in isolation for 10 days, from time of symptoms or test date, whichever is soonest at the CST recovery billets.
For Cadets wondering how best to prepare for CST 2021, Wade this advice:
“Study - gain confidence in Troop Leading Procedures and METT-C (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops and Civilian considerations). The time to show what you know is at AC, the time to become expert is now. Leadership is an art, but there is a science to it as well,” he shared. “Hone your land navigation skills. Cadets who excel at camp in the past have excelled at land navigation. They know how to make a plan, read the situation, and move out boldly.”
Physical fitness is also important to being successful at CST according to Wade.
“Continue physical fitness training according to FM 7-22 Holistic Health and Fitness. While the ACFT will only be conducted for familiarity, the test of record will be the Occupational Physical Assessment Test,” he said. “This fitness test [reference FM 7-22 and ATP 7-22.01] will count for up to 12% of your camp ‘score.’ Cadets can achieve the highest scoring category of Black, with disciplined training and dedication.”
Lastly, he said Cadets need to keep safety in mind as they prepare.
“Unlike any other Cadet Summer Camp, COVID has the biggest impact on training. All Cadets will be required to keep a 14-day log of activities prior to travel to camp,” Wade said. “Testing positive at any point in the beginning of your camp experience can put your attendance at risk with very few opportunities to make it up. Use prudent safety measures to keep yourself ready and healthy to train. Also, if you have an opportunity to get vaccinated, do.”
“Continue to make safe choices and avoid injury as well, as recovery times could prevent you from timely camp attendance,” he added.
Commandant for CST 2021 Col. Brent Clemmer added that if Cadets follow Wade’s advice, they will be able to make the most out of their time at Fort Knox this summer.
“Each Cadet, attending Basic Camp or Advance Camp, will share in a world-class leadership development experience. Arriving physically fit with a positive attitude will ensure you seize the opportunity to succeed,” he said. “I’m sure your time spent at Fort Knox will test your leadership abilities and allow you to demonstrate all the skills you have learned at your host programs.”
Clemmer went on to share his hopes that Cadets will also build some relationships with other future leaders that will last over the years.
“I still remember the time I spent at camp many years ago. Two other members of my platoon continue to serve as colonels in our Army today. You will make friendships this summer that will last a career!” he said.
CST2021 will consist of 11 regiments of Advanced Camp and three regiments of Basic Camp. All regiments will be built for 40 Cadet platoons and include leadership opportunities in squad and platoon level in both garrison and field exercises. CST2021 will train over 10,000 Cadets in 100 days.
Advanced Camp will provide training for more than 7,000 Cadets, while Basic Camp is scheduled to train around 1,800 Cadets and Cadet hopefuls. Along with that, about 1,500 Cadet will take part in professional development opportunities through internships, Air Assault and other specialty schools, Cadet Troop Leader Training, and other advanced individual training opportunities.
The first regiment of Advanced Camp kicks off with a report date of May 23 with each regiment being at Fort Knox for 38 days, to include a 10-day controlled monitoring phase where Cadets will train exclusively inside their COVID “bubbles”. Each new regiment will start five days later until 11th Regiment graduates Aug. 18.
The first regiment of Basic camp starts June 25 and is 32 days long, including the 10-day controlled monitoring period, and with five day intervals before the next regiment starts.
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