By the time this article is published, the biggest Army exercise will be complete. That exercise is Cadet Summer Training (CST) conducted at Fort Knox, Kentucky. While CST is a Total Army effort, it is safe to say that it would not be a success without the Soldiers of the 108th Training Command – specifically, the Instructors of the 104th Division and the Drill Sergeants of the 95th and 98th Divisions.
This year at CST 17 almost 8,400 cadets attended the Basic Course (formerly known as Cadet Initial Entry Training) and the Advanced Course (formerly known as the Cadet Leader Course). The Drill Sergeants of the 95th and 98th trained more than 2,700 cadets introducing them to the Army – and for many this was their first taste of the Army life. While the Drill Sergeants directly impacted this year’s cadets, their insight on training has resulted in a back to the basics approach, henceforth the name change, for next year’s CST. On behalf of Maj.Gen. Hughes, I want to thank each Drill Sergeant, who participated this year, for your time, effort, and professionalism in training the Army’s future leaders.
Next, I would like to thank the Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants that provided outstanding religious support to the cadets over the course of the summer. I also want to thank our AR-MEDCOM, USACAPOC, and 377th TSC teammates for making this a realistic and challenging training environment and providing life support to cadets and cadre – great job!
Finally, I want to say thank you to the Soldiers of the Timberwolves Division. You trained cadets at the Leadership Reaction Course, Hand Grenade Assault Course, Land Navigation course, CBRN site, Machine Gun Range, Call for Fire Trainer, and VBS digital training committees. Your instruction helped Basic and Advanced Course Cadets get closer to commissioning as a 2nd Lt. and being ready to “Win in a Complex World.”
Oh wait, I forgot to say thank you to one more special group – Task Force Wolf. These 13 Soldiers supported by Soldiers on rotational Annual Training provided administrative, logistics, communication, and operations support to the more than 1,000 Army Reserve Soldiers that provided support to CST 16. In sum, I could not have asked more from a group and you exceeded my expectations every time! Your efforts kept things running smoothly and where noticed by Cadet Command leadership.
I would also like to give a special shout out to the TF Wolf S3, Capt. Vallejo, who kept the operation running day in day out; Task Force Wolf S1, Sgt. 1st Class Boyle, it is fair to say that her efforts getting Soldiers orders, making sure they were paid, and processing awards was mission critical – AWESOME JOB!; and Staff Sgt. Smith, who helped out in many places, to include making sure that I got places on time when I was at Ft. Knox. Thank you!
In closing, I want to recognize the loss of a great Soldier, Master Sgt. Virginia Bartholomew on 5 August after a battle with cancer. Many of you probably knew Master Sgt. Bartholomew better than I, but my recollection of her was of a highly competent noncommissioned officer, who was always willing to get the job done and do it with a smile. She will be missed; but, she will always be a member of the Timberwolves team.
It has been a great summer; but, now we must rapidly turn our attention to executing Reformation and rapidly improving Soldier Readiness. What you accomplished this summer supporting CST tells me that you will be able meet these challenges and accomplish the mission while taking care of every Soldier.