Secretary of Defense visits Fort Knox to observe ROTC training - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Secretary of Defense visits Fort Knox to observe ROTC training

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FORT KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) -- The United States Department of Defense Secretary spent part of his afternoon at Fort Knox on Wednesday.

Ash Carter spent much of his time observing the ROTC cadet training program.

“This is important to me,” Secretary Carter said. “It’s important the future of our military, because we have an all-volunteer force, and the future of the force is a major commitment of mine.”

One of the training courses that Secretary Carter visited was a simulation in which U.S. forces were helping a (fake) country recover following a years long civil war. Cadets were in the process of establishing and maintaining relationships with the village elders.

“We really hope, from a training stand point, the cadets come in, do what we call an after action review,” said Lieutenant Colonel Travis Rayfield. “Take the lessons learned and apply them to the next four days of training.”

The cadets are made up of college students from around the country. Throughout each summer, Ft. Knox runs through around 10,000 recruits through the program.

Leaders say the course prepares cadets for real world scenarios they may face in the field.

They say the added pressure of Secretary Carter being there helps show cadets why the training matters.

“I think it shows them the importance of the training,” Lt. Col. Rayfield said. “When you get a VIP out, that should relay to our leaders how valuable they are.”

After meeting with and answering questions with cadets, Secretary Carter said Fort Knox, and in particular the cadet training program, is one of the reasons the U.S. Military remains strong in spite of recent reorganization.

“One clear thing that Fort Knox provides is a tremendous training facility,” Carter said. “You see it used around the calendar; you see it used across the spectrum of conflict.”

Carter repeatedly emphasized his goal of keeping the cadets in the military long-term, rather than them leaving for civilian jobs.

“I'm going to be pushing us to be an army in which you want to stay, because I can't afford to lose good people when I've invested in them and with how we’ve invested in you,” Carter said.

Carter also visited the Crane Naval Facility near Bedford, Ind. on Wednesday. 

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