Written by: Mattie Cook, Lora Sparks and Ariana Aubuchon
FORT KNOX, Ky.- Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, visited Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, KY to observe and interact with Cadets and Cadre, July 13, 2016.
During his tour, Fanning visited a field training exercise, the high ropes course, Preliminary Marksmanship Training (PMI), the 64 foot rappel tower and the confidence course.
Secretary of Army, Eric Fanning, joined the 6th Regiment Advanced Camp (Cadet Leaders Course), Bravo Company Cadets on their patrol base coming into the Cadets’ training grounds in order to see first-hand the training these future officers are conducting.
Secretary Fanning sat down for an MRE (Meal Ready-to-Eat) beef stew lunch with the Cadets and got their opinions on gender equality among Soldiers, and the communication between civilians and Soldiers alike. Throughout the lunch, Cadre and Cadets were engaged and excited as a high-ranking Army VIP came to share insight and ideas with them.
Cdt. Joseph Brown, an upcoming senior at the University of Houston, says that he was starstruck to meet and speak with the Secretary of the Army. “In a way, it’s bigger than meeting the president,” says Brown of the visit by the Secretary. “To see him come out here and want to immerse himself in our environment, to have him ask us who we are and where we’re from, to be so genuine, you can see him taking note that these are the future soldiers of our Army. It’s a really cool feeling.”
Next on his tour, the high ropes course.
Cadre and Cadets were excited for Fanning to see the Cadets in-action at the high ropes course. He made his way through different stations, observing a crucial part of the Cadets’ training. This station also allowed Secretary Fanning to understand the adaptability of Cadets and Cadre, to overcome obstacles and focus on the mission. Cdt. Jeffrey Hayden, Towson University, said it was a once in a lifetime experience.
“It’s pretty incredible to be training next to someone so fundamental to the success of the Army. Today we’re going to show him what the Army’s about.” Jeffery said.
Secretary Fanning’s last stops, PMI, rappel tower and the confidence course proved to be good insight into the specialized training Cadets receive.
At the PMI pit, Fanning interacted with Cadets learning to properly clean, assemble and disassemble their weapons. From there, he moved to watch Cadets practice tactical stances during marksmanship.
The Secretary visited the confidence course and rappel tower where he watched Cadets navigate the intense physical training, building confidence and trust in their equipment. Cadets at the confidence course demonstrated their enthusiasm for working together to conquer obstacles. Throughout the various stations, Fanning interacted with Cadre to understand the importance of each training site and talked to Cadets about their experience.
Cdt. Kevin Nicholas, University of Virgin Islands, expressed his excitement for the Secretary’s visit.
“It’s very exciting to have Secretary Fanning here. I’m glad that he’s here, showing his respect and being present during our training which motivates us” Nicholas said.
During his visit, Secretary Fanning was able to hear about the training and see the Cadets in action. He plans to take his observations and feedback to further tell the Army’s story across the country.