By: Madison Thompson

FORT KNOX, Ky. – 7th Regiment, Basic Camp, Cadets practiced land navigation at Assembly Area Baker, July 17, during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox. Land navigation is a vital skill for Cadets and Cadre alike. Armed with a protractor, compass and map, Cadets must locate key points, plot a course to those points and successfully navigate to them.

7th Regiment, Basic Camp practicing Land Navigation at AA Baker, July 17, during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox. Photo by: Madison Thompson

“We get a map, a protractor and a compass. Then, we plot the points with our protractor. Then you have to find the distance and navigate your way through the woods, find the different points to make sure you know how to get there and how to navigate back,” said Cadet Diondre Threatts, University of Alabama, Phoenix City, Ala.

Before going out into the woods, Cadets rotated to four different stations which included road pace count, compass training, compass verification and off-road pace count.

Cadets must get an accurate pace count for both on and off-road ventures. A pace count measures approximate distances, which is helpful when the territory is not marked by signs. It can also be challenging when traveling in thick, wooded areas or areas filled with hills and rocky terrain.

“The most challenging is getting the points lined up, getting in the field and just keeping track of where you’re going. It’s easy to get side tracked when you’re walking in the middle of nowhere,” said Cadet Ronald Garvin, Alcorn State University, Long Beach, Miss. “It’s not like when you’re on a road because you have road markers. There are no road markers on trees. So, when you’re walking in the middle of the woods, you really have to follow the compass and follow the stuff that we’ve been taught.”

Land navigation is an important skill for many reasons.

“It’s important so that, when you have troops that you’re leading them, you know exactly how to lead them so they don’t get lost. It’s very important for getting to a location,” said Threatts. “You don’t want to lead your troops to the wrong location and then you guys get ambushed; or, if some troops are asking for help and you need to get to them, you need to know how to navigate to them.”

7th Regiment, Basic Camp practicing Land Navigation at AA Baker, July 17, during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox. Cadet Diondre Threatts, University of Alabama, Phoenix City, Ala., navigating with Cadetmates through practice course. Photo by: Madison Thompson

5th Regiment, Basic Camp, Cadets will be tested on land navigation skills July 18. In preparation, Cadre gave Cadets a practice course with points to locate. The test will consist of paired Cadets finding four points on a map, locating them and navigating to them.

Cadets have been prepared and trained for this event. After practicing and preparing, Cadets and Cadre had a few words of wisdom for those preparing for land navigation in the future.

“As a Cadre member, the advice I would give to the Cadets is pay attention to detail. Do not rush. Make sure that you’re writing down everything, taking good notes. Take your time, make sure that, when you’re plotting plot two or three times, four or five if you have to. Make sure that everything you write down is accurate. Always stay motivated and confident in what you’re doing,” stated Sgt. Demetrius Banks.

“Pay attention in your class. When you’re in class and you’re doing land navigation, pay attention. It really translates out here in the field,” said Garvin. “When you come to Basic Camp, it translates out and makes it a lot easier able to help out your fellow Cadets and battle buddies.”


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: