Last Updated: January 10th, 2018By

Fort Knox, Ky.,– Cadets must first learn the basics of handling rifles at Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction before they can begin to fire at the ranges.

While at PMI, Cadets will learn how to prepare themselves to be ready to

Basic Camp 2nd Regiment Cadets stand in formation at Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction (PMI) on June 9. at Fort Knox, Ky. (photo by Emily LaForme)

fire, put together and take apart their weapon, and move as a formation.

Cadet D’errah Richardson, student at Michigan State University, native of Flint, Michigan, learned proper weapon-handling skills at PMI.

“We are going over rifle readiness positions, how to lay prone and in kneeling positions, and how to take apart our rifles,” said Richardson. “Being able to take apart and put together your weapons is essential to cleaning and maintaining your firearms to keep you effective on the battlefield.”

Many of the Basic Camp Cadets had never handled a weapon prior to Cadet Summer Training.

“I had no prior training as far as how to take apart or put together my rifle at all, but now I am able to do that on my own, so I consider this to be very beneficial to me in my career as a soldier,” said Richardson. “I know that many people here who come to Fort Knox for basic camp have little or no prior basic military experience at all, so I can take everything I’ve learned and now teach it to them.”

Cadets are able to lean on and look toward their fellow platoon members for assistance as they all learn new tactical skills and movements.

A Cadet from Basic Camp, 2nd Regiment, Alpha Company practices lying in prone position during PMI (preliminary marksmanship instruction). June 9 at Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Emily LaForme)

“Here you learn that everything is a team effort, so encouraging words and helping them do what they can’t do, those are things that are second nature to those of us here at Basic Camp,” said Richardson.

Cadet Jonathan McCaslin, student at Oklahoma State University, native of Haskell, Oklahoma, handled a rifle for the first time at PMI.

“Before I did not know how to completely take apart a rifle, and I now I do. I can use this for the rest of my life and whenever I need it,” said McCaslin.

Cadets can apply these skills in the future careers as Army officers.

“You never know when you are going to need to use these [skills] whenever you are in battle or combat,” said McCaslin. “Some of the positions are kind of uncomfortable, like if you’re on your knees on concrete or whatever, but you just have to tough

A Cadet from Basic Camp, 2nd Regiment, Alpha Company receives instruction from a drill sergeant during PMI (preliminary marksmanship instruction). June 9 at Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Emily LaForme)

it out.”

Teamwork is an important part of Cadet Summer Training.

“We are working as team. Some people haven’t really gotten a hold on how to do certain things, and so other people come in and help them when they need it and help instruct them so that way they all succeed.”

Cadets will take the skills they learn at PMI and apply them at the live-fire ranges as part of their marksmanship training.