Run Back from Camp Buckner
August 13, 2001
Parents: We would appreciate any photos and memories you may be able to send to us. Please send to the Nobles for inclusion on the page. We need all the help we can get.
Thanks to the following who have added to our Buckner collection:
Cadet Field Training
The sign outside of the main headquarters at Camp Buckner reads "For Country and Corps," meaning the Class of 2004 is present for summer training. Cadet Field Training, or CFT, is the summer training program for the Yearlings or Third Class Cadets. This year CFT is attended by the Class of 2004. The seven weeks at Camp Buckner, where CFT is held, build on the Army skills the cadets learned during Cadet Basic Training (CBT) last year and further prepare the cadets for their future job as platoon leaders in the Army.
This year's CFT started on Friday, 22 June 2001, allowing the Yearlings about twenty days off since graduation. (Though the yearlings who attended STAP, or Summer Term Academic Program, only got one day off!) For the upperclass cadets from '02 and '03 who will lead the Yearlings at Camp Buckner, leave time was limited to one week. Train the Trainer (T3) started for the upperclass on 11 June 2001. T3 allows the upperclass time to prepare for the arrival of the Yearlings. Preparing training schedules, rehearsing classes, drawing equipment and prepping barracks were the orders of the day. There were also soldiers from various Army posts who needed to be coordinated with on different events. These soldiers, who come from posts like Ft. Drum and Ft. Polk, live next to Camp Buckner at Camp Natural Bridge; they support the cadet activities at both CFT and CBT, bringing a taste of the Army to the cadets at West Point.
For the Yearlings, CFT will train them on the remaining pre-commissioning tasks they started learning during Cadet Basic Training. They will be trained and tested on everything from Land Navigation (Day and Night) to Close Quarters Combat, Fire Support and Bayonet skills. The Leadership Reaction Course will challenge the cadets to work as a team, thinking creatively, while the Confidence Obstacle Course will test the cadets on an individual level. Cadets will also compete for the Recondo Badge, which cadets can wear on their uniforms if they complete all the Recondo requirements during CFT.
Two of the highlights for the Yearlings this summer will be Operation Highland Warrior and Mounted Maneuver Training (MMT). Operation Highland Warrior is a week long field exercise which teaches the cadets how to work and react as a light infantry unit on the combined arms battlefield. MMT occurs at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where cadets spend a week experiencing first hand the capabilities of the mechanized world. They will be able to drive tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFV), as well as fire M105 Howitzers. They will witness several live fire displays as well as spend time maneuvering platoons of tanks and BFVs in the computer simulation centers at Ft. Knox.
CFT ends with Camp Illumination and a promotion ceremony to the rank of Cadet Corporal for those yearlings who have passed all the CFT requirements. The Yearlings will return to West Point via a morning run from Camp Buckner on Monday, August 13th; that day also marks the start of Reorganization Week. As the Yearlings are headed to new academic year companies as part of the scramble, they will have much to adjust to as the academic semester starts for their second year at the Academy.
Despite the rigors of the field during CFT, the summer is a welcome change for cadets from the academic year. The Yearling class will have many fond memories to draw on after CFT - swimming in Lake Popolopen, hanging out at Barth Hall during free time, getting lost during land navigation or taking a turn full speed in a tank... Hopefully these memories will sustain them when Yearling academics kick in this fall, including such cadet favorites as Physics, Economics and various languages!
Jackie (Kalata) Whiteside '93
I welcome your comments at Rangersct@aol.com.