Last Updated: January 10th, 2018By

Fort Knox, Ky., — Several 3rd Regiment Advanced Camp Cadets qualified expert on the M4 Rifle at George Blair range, move on in Recondo competition.

The pursuit of the Recondo Badge for Advanced Camp Cadets is no easy feat, a fact proven after every challenge of training thus far. A few Cadets have managed to stay in the running and are continuing the pursuit of the honorable award.

Cadet Jeff Chitwood, student at Indiana University, native of St. Charles, Illinois, is one of the lucky Cadets who qualified expert at George Blair.

Cadets take aim during Weapons Qualification during Cadet Summer Training on June 11,2017. (Photo by Savoury Jacobson)

“You need to hit a minimum of 23 out of 40 targets to qualify, and to qualify expert, which is needed for Recondo, you have to shoot at least 36 out of 40 targets,” said Chitwood. “I usually like to shoot in my free time back home. I’ve never done pop-up targets, but really it’s as the instructors say: you just have to remember the fundamentals and clear your mind, let your body do the work.”

Cadet Gill-Jan Eleazar, student at Virginia Military Institute, native of Waldorf, Maryland, also qualified expert and is still in the running for the Recondo badge.

“I was nervous because this is the first time I had shot at a pop-up range, before I had qualified as expert on only paper,” said Eleazar. “I think this is more challenging, because you don’t know where the targets are going to pop-up, so you really have to reset your sight picture and adjust for every target.”

The Recondo Badge is hard-won, and the Cadets seeking it have to work hard to achieve top marks in every single event of summer training.

Cadet Olumese takes aim during Weapons Qualification during Cadet Summer Training on June 11,2017. (Photo by Savoury Jacobson.)

“I always like to push myself a little bit harder, and this gives you a certain specific set of tasks to make sure you are a well-rounded Soldier, and also I want to make my program proud back at IU,” said Chitwood.

Obtaining perfect scores in every event can be challenging for Cadets to maintain.

“I would say that some of it is how much you prepare, and you can even come down to genetics and what you are given, and also luck. I mean today I got it on my last try to qualify expert, I had a great coach to help me along, and it can just come down to luck,” said Chitwood. “Every single event becomes something you are nervous about now. Land navigation does not have much slack or room for error. I think that I’m becoming nervous about that one, because that one can come down to luck as well.”

Eleazar says the Recondo badge will help make him the best future leader he can be.

“I’m trying to go for Recondo because I want to get the highest score on everything and it just so happens to be that there is a badge for that,” said Eleazar. “I think by getting the Recondo badge, it requires you to put a lot of practice and effort into your tasks, so by doing that, you’ll become more proficient, and it’ll help me in the Army just by making me a better officer overall. The badge requires you to complete a lot of the events with a high score, and a lot of them vary in different skills.”

Chitwood says that the competition for the badge is an initiative to work harder at summer training.

Cadet Wagener walks down the firing line to her position during Weapons Qualification at Fort Knox, Ky, on June 10, 2017. (Photo by Savoury Jacobson.)

“I would say that you are always trying to set the bar higher for yourself, so by doing little things like here at Advanced Camp for Cadet Summer Training, by trying to push yourself to get the highest badge here, you really set the tone right, saying that you will always push the bar higher in the future,” said Chitwood.

Eleazar says that the badge drives Cadets to remain motivated and set goals for themselves.

“I think just by receiving the badge of course it will be an honor. I think it is a goal that will help people work towards and keep their mind focused on trying their best,” said Eleazar. “I think by bringing the badge back it helps give Cadets a very high goal to attain and makes them work even harder to attain it.”

Chitwood and Eleazor and the remaining Advanced Camp Cadets in the running will now move forward in their training as they continue to seek out expert-level scores in pursuit of the Recondo Badge.