FORT HOOD, Texas — For weeks, West Point Cadets have been embedded with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood.
It's a unique opportunity to get some on-the-job training before becoming Army officers themselves.
”They teach you a ton of things through ROTC or West Point about leadership, but actually seeing it in practice and understanding what’s going to be expected of you when you get that first duty assignment as the platoon leader or that lieutenant,” said Cpt. Daniel Lafranchi, alpha troop engineer with 3RD Cavalry Regiment. “It’s a great experience.”
It's an experience these cadets know is invaluable.
”West Point does a great job of saying 'hey, you’re going to be leading soldiers, but it doesn’t give you the nitty-gritty of what you’re actually doing',” said Emma Kuhrt, West Point cadet. “Which is the paperwork and the sitting at a desk writing operation orders.”
West Point also doesn’t give them a chance to do things like train full scale at a demolition range.
”Specifically today, we’re going to be blowing Bangalore charges, which is just pretty much C4. It helps us get through wire obstacles,” said Lafranchi.
3CR is giving the cadets are getting hands-on experience with the explosives, even letting them set them off themselves.
”A lot of the stuff we do out here, you can’t ever experience doing any other job. So, I think it’s pretty cool,” said Lucas Dickerson, West Point cadet.
Getting to blow stuff up is the fun part but the reality of war is the larger point.
They will be leading America’s sons and daughters into battle, and they have a message for the soldiers under their future command.
”I want them to know that truly, I care about what they're doing in their lives. That if they have goals and ambitions, I want them to reach those goals and ambitions,” said Cadet Kuhrt. “I don’t want them to stop where they are.”
These cadets will be leaving Fort Hood and heading back to West point at the end of the month with a better understanding of what they’re signing up for.