Last Updated: October 16th, 2020By Tags: , , , ,

FORT KNOX, Ky. — Keeping them in the running for the RECONDO badge, three Cadets from 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp qualified expert on their M4 carbine at George Blair Range.

Cadet Christian Nelson explained how qualification works. “Out here we were qualifying with an M4 rifle on the marksmanship range,” said Nelson, “We have pop up targets out here. If you’re not going for RECONDO you have two chances at this. After that you go to an Alternate Qualification course. For RECONDO, they have four other tries after that.”

Cadet prepares his weapon before trying to qualify on M4 carbine. Fort Knox, Ky. July 18, 2017. Photo by Hope Nelson

Weapons qualification is an event that has seemed to knock many Cadets out of the running for the RECONDO badge this year in Cadet Summer Training. However, a few Cadets in each regiment so far have finished their training and received the RECONDO badge.

Three Cadets in 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, are working hard to receive that honor.

“RECONDO is a specialty badge that we get here at advanced camp if we complete a certain number of the required tasks at a certain level of proficiency,” said Cadet Nicholas Abraham, “Knowing I’m in for the RECONDO is a pretty exciting feeling. It’s pretty stressful, but at the same time it’s definitely an honor to be here and it’s an honor to be in the running for it.”

To receive the RECONDO badge, a Cadet must complete the Army Physical Fitness Test with a 90 percent or above on all events, receive a first time go on all Confidence Course events, a 90 percent on the Land Navigation written exam, successfully navigate five out of six points in the night into day land Navigation course, qualify expert on the M4 carbine, first time go on all First Aid and CBRN tasks and complete the 12 mile foot march with a 35 pound ruck sack within three hours.

Qualifying expert on an M4 carbine is no easy task. Only five of about 600 Cadets qualified expert and only three of those five are still in the running for the RECONDO badge.

“To be an expert shooter you have to complete 36 of the 40 pop up targets,” said Abraham.

For Cadet David Abney, who qualified expert for the first time ever on his weapon, the excitement was overwhelming. “I was very happy. I’ve never done it before. [It felt] awesome,” said Abney.

Cadet fires a round while trying to qualify on his M4 carbine at George Blair Range. Fort Knox, Ky. July 18, 2017. Photo by Hope Nelson

With so few Cadets receiving the honor of the RECONDO badge, it makes it even more special for those who are so close to completing this feat.

“I was like, that’s freaking awesome,” said Cadet Brandon Gutierrez, “It feels good. I’m just looking at the next event.”

As the Cadets continue on in training, they maintain their hard working efforts towards receiving the RECONDO badge, but also focus on the training experience as a whole. Abraham reflected on his favorite his favorite part of training so far.

“My favorite part of Advanced Camp is getting to know the future leaders that I’m working with side by side and really getting to share the knowledge and different strength that we have and us all becoming leaders together,” said Abraham.

Cadet Summer Training will bring 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: