By: Madison Thompson

FORT KNOX, Ky. – 2nd Regiment, Basic Camp, participated in weapons zeroing and weapons qualification June 12 at Canby Hill Range at Fort Knox, Kentucky during Cadet Summer Training. This training is for Cadets to better understand their weapon in terms of safety and proper use.

“Right now, they’re getting qualified on the M16. They are getting confidence in grouping, zeroing and basic familiarization at this point. Some of them have never shot a weapon before and so that’s the experience that they’re getting,” said 2nd Lt. Aurora Alejos.

2nd Regiment, Basic Camp, completes weapons zeroing and qualifications. Photo by Madison Thompson

Cadet Patrick Spencer, Texas Christian University, Indianapolis, Indiana, explained what they would be doing on the range. “We’ve had them for about five days,or so, and now we’re actually firing them, understanding how the sights work, getting confident with them, and just trying them out. I think we’re going to be shooting for the next couple of days and trying to get basic marksmanship.”

Before testing proficiency in the equipment, Cadets took several classes on their weapons.

“Before we got here, we did PMI classes which is, basically, where they learn to hold the weapon, how to go on the range, sit and aim downrange and how to understand the weapon,” explained Alejos.

To qualify with their weapons, Cadets had to complete these classes on safety with the weapon. They were also required to zero their rifles.

“Zeroing is getting a cluster of your shots over to the right area, the center mass,” explained Cadet Emily Later, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Levittown, Pennsylvania.

2nd Regiment, Basic Camp Grouping and Zeroing Emily Later, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, 2nd Regiment, Basic Camp, completes weapons zeroing and qualifications. Photo by Madison Thompson

Tight clustering means high accuracy.

The Cadre present not only look for accuracy, but also stress safety. There are four rules posted at the entrance of the range which include:

1. Treat all weapons as if they are loaded at all times
2. Keep your finger off the trigger and keep weapons on safe
3. NEVER point your weapon at anything you don’t intend on destroying
4. Positively identify your target, what is in front, behind, and to the left and right of your target

“We have to make sure the Cadets understand that they have to treat the weapon as if it’s always loaded. So, even if they don’t have ammunition, they have to make sure not to flag their battle buddy, which means to not point the weapon at anybody. Whenever they’re walking on the range, they’re always pointing the weapon off range. Then, there’s nine points of safety to make sure that there’s no round in the chamber,” said Alejos.

Some of the Cadets know that this particular qualification will be harder for others because they’ve never fired this kind of weapon before. Cadet Spencer offered some words about what his fellow Cadets should do.

“They’re going to be nervous, especially for people who’ve never shot before, because they don’t know how much recoil there’s going to be. They don’t know if they’re going to be doing it right,” said Spencer. “It’s a thing that once you do it you know you can do it. You’ve just got to be confident in your abilities.”

2nd Regiment Cadets completed their weapons zeroing training. After training, some Cadets stated they are look forward to the training ahead and continuing through CST.

Cadet Summer Training brings 8,200 Cadets through Basic and Advanced Camp this summer on Fort Knox. These camps are designed to help challenge, grow and improve various skills and leadership qualities within the Cadets. If you think you have what it takes to be a Cadet or if you are interested in a job after college click the following link: