FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET), First Regiment, Alpha Company Cadets learn how to employ hand grenades and fire M240B machine guns on Christensen Range June 15.

Master Sgt. Reginald Gilliam, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., is the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of hand grenade and machine gun training for the third year in a row.

Not many Cadets have experience with hand grenades or machine guns, according to Gilliam.

“A lot of this stuff is the first time they’ve seen it,” he said.

Three years prior, he was the NCOIC of first-aid training.

Gilliam wants Cadets to take away the importance of hand-grenade safety.

“So many people have been killed accidentally with grenades.  I just want them to be safe with it, and know what it is capable of doing,” he said.

Cadets learn grenade identification, how to knock out a bunker, throw a hand grenade at a standing, kneeling, or prone stance, and maneuver with weapons using Individual Movement Techniques (IMT).

Cdt. Alexander Esteve, a rising sophomore of Norwich University majoring in criminal justice and a native of Colchester, Conn., thought IMT training was most exciting.

“It got my blood going, got my adrenaline going, and working with my battle buddy built cohesion,” he stated.

CIET Cadets learn to assemble, disassemble, and check functions of the M240 Bravo machine gun, Fort Knox, Ky. Photo by Nadia Essien

CIET, 1st Regiment, Alpha Company Cadets learn to assemble, disassemble, and check functions of the M240 Bravo machine gun, Fort Knox, Ky., June 15. Photo by Nadia Essien

During machine gun training, Cadets learn drills, how to clear, load and unload a machine gun, and how to assemble, disassemble and perform a functions check before firing on the range.

The best moment of training is watching Cadets fire on the range, machine gun training instructor Sgt. Jeremy Pescini of Fayetteville, N.C. expressed.

“I’ll explain what’s gonna happen so they feel more comfortable.  I’ll do everything I can to make it easier for them, and they’re still learning at the same time because I’ll talk them through it,” he said.

Cdt. Timothy Givens, a rising sophomore studying German at Pennsylvania State University and a native of Elverson, Pa., found taking apart the machine gun to be the coolest part of the day.

“Taking apart the M240… it’s a machine gun.  It was just cool,” he said.

Pescini said he hopes Cadets remember what he shares with them.

“Depending on what type of units they go to, they will need to know the M240 if they’re infantryman or what not.  It will help them with that aspect – at least showing up to their units knowing about different weapon systems,” Pescini noted.

“This is my favorite part of the Army, being able to train people,” he added.

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