FORT KNOX, Ky. – Day eight of Basic camp for 1st Regiment Alpha Company; Cadets are taught the basics of how to handle their weapon.


Prior to learning how to dismantle their weapons, Cadets are given M16 Rifle and they sign receipt documents to say they received the weapon.

Cadet Bennett listens to a briefing during a gun immersion excercise on Ft. Knox, KY Friday June 2. Photo by Lindsey Crown


“[The document] Details what equipment you have received, so you basically sign off to say you have received it,” said Cadet Ezekiel Smith, Stone Mountain, Georgia, of Georgia Southern University.


Drill Sergeant Tenner gathered the Cadets around to give a brief overview on what to do with the weapon. During that time they are taught accountability and muzzle awareness.

Cadets recieve direction during a gun immersion excercise on Ft. Knox, KY Friday June 2. Photo by Lindsey Crown


With accountability, Cadets learned they are to keep these weapons in their barracks unless told otherwise. They were told where to keep them, what facilities allow the weapons, and each room is checked for the weapon every hour. Along with accountability, Cadets are told if they lose their weapons, they are to pay for it.


With muzzle awareness, Cadets are told that they need to keep their weapon in arms reach. If it isn’t in arms reach, they did something wrong. When holding their weapon, there is a correct way to hold it. They were also told where to not put the muzzle, Tenner specified the importance of not resting the weapon on their foot or mouth, the muzzle is to be facing the ground.


Upon receiving the information, Cadets broke off into groups to learn how to dismantle their weapon. Drill Sergeants first give a how-to demonstration then Cadets try it out themselves. They are taught to load and unload their weapon, do a functions check, and how to clean their weapon.


“They are getting ready for Basic Rifles Marksmanship (BRM), for qualification. So, [we] teach them how to maintain a weapon before they go to shoot to qualify,” said US Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Wayne Herologa, Mainsville, Oh.


These Cadets have not touched a M16 Rifle in their lives; with the help of Drill Sergeants they quickly learn the basics.