Last Updated: October 16th, 2020By

Fort Knox, Ky., — Advanced Camp 4th Regiment Cadets qualified at George Blair range June 15, 2017, part of their marksmanship education for Cadet Summer Training, and several Cadets stood out as sharpshooters once the event was completed.

Cadets have to shoot a minimum of 23 out of 40 to qualify as a marksman, and to qualify for the Recondo Badge they must hit 36 out of the 40 targets. However, in order to qualify as a sharp shooter, a Cadet must hit between 31 and 35 targets.

A Cadet moves into a kneeling position during weapons qualification at George Blair range, Fort Knox, Ky., June 15. Cadets are expected to hit 23 out of 40 targets in order to qualify as a marksman, 36 out of 40 to qualify as expert, and 31-35 to qualify as a sharp shooter. (Photo by Emily LaForme).

Cadet Mikaela Shields, student at the University of Southern Maine, native of Cornish, Maine, qualified as a sharpshooter.

“I got a 34 out of 40, technically that means I am a sharpshooter for their standards, but that just means that I tried really hard, I focused when I was out there,” said Shields. “My first round was not so good, I was a little confused on out the range, the ranges are a little hard to determine what lane is what. It’s okay because I put myself back together, got back out there, focused and relaxed, and just did my best.”

Shields believes the skills learned at the range are applicable to being a future officer in the Army.

“As far as scoring high, I think that’s going to help me in the way of just applying the skills it takes to qualify with your M4 and using those skills with other methods of planning or executing a mission,” said Shields. “You know, if you get an operations order or mission, it seems like a lot to take in— you just relax, focus on what needs to be done and you simply execute it. You don’t over think it, you just do what needs to be done. Follow through the methods they teach you and it will be okay.”

Shields prepared mentally before qualifying at the range.

“I came here with the mindset that it had to be done, I was going to do it and I was going to do whatever it took to get me there. I just trusted that my Cadre were going to push me along and support me, and my peers would support me, and that I had enough behind me to get me where I need to be: which is qualification,” said Shields.

Cadet Summer Training is comprised of being an excellent leader, but also being a team player.

A Cadet zeroes her rifle during weapons qualification at George Blair range, Fort Knox, Ky., June 15. Cadets are expected to hit 24 out of 40 targets in order to qualify as a marksman, and 23 out of 40 to qualify as expert. (Photo by Emily LaForme)

“My advice would be to work on being a team player. Get to know everyone around you, get to know what their like, their culture, where they come from, what they are good at. Know how that would help you and them both with meshing strengths and weaknesses together and making it happen,” said Shields. “That’s probably the one thing that is going to get you through, just teamwork and supporting your other fellow Cadets.”

Mikaela Romesser, student at Niagra University, native of Perrysburg, New York, also qualified as a sharpshooter.

“This is actually my second time qualifying, so I felt pretty confident, and we were also on the range a little bit yesterday, so I felt decently confident today and was pretty happy with my score,” said Romesser.

Romesser feels like the methods behind qualifying are useful tools for the future.

“The skills on the range, like concentration, focus, patience, and then helping my fellow Cadets as well try to shoot, that whole leadership and looking out for your battle buddies, I think the skills actually on the range will help me more than the shooting itself,” said Romesser. Just keep an open mind about everything. No matter the weather conditions or if you are struggling on something, just stay patient, people are here to help you, just keep an open mind and stay positive about everything.”

Romesser says she learns from what others have done before her.

“I try to watch other people and see where their targets are coming up. I noticed a lot of people shoot high and I thought I need to shoot low. I have a breathing technique and I know I need to breathe in and out between every shot. So I just kind of thought in my head mentally what I was going to do when I got out there,” said Romesser.

Cadet Day of 4th Regiment Advanced Camp prepares to fire her rifle in kneeling position during weapons qualification at George Blair range, Fort Knox, Ky., June 15. (Photo by Emily LaForme)

The qualifying range is not an easy obstacle to navigate, as Cadets have to stay alert for the pop-up targets constantly.

“I definitely think that the moving targets are a lot different than what we have done in the past. They are up for such a short time and you have to be really focused, have really good breathing control,” said Romesser. “I think the technical skills behind shooting is really what tripped people up. It’s tough but as long as you have a good focus and you keep the same sight picture every time and you focus on the target, it won’t be too bad.”

Cadets will take the skills they learned at the qualification range and continue to apply them to the remainder of their 31-day training at CST.