FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadet Tori Richison, a student at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, says she feels well-prepared for the mission that’s sure to be a challenge: land navigation.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking just because you’re on your own, and it’s at night, too,” the Osceola, Wisconsin native said.

Richison, along with the other Cadets of 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, is required to successfully navigate alone from one location to another through the daunting, critter-infested forests of rural Fort Knox.

A Cadet of 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp focuses while taking the required written map-reading test July 18 at Fort Knox. Photo by Sade’ Wilson

She says knowing how to physically lead through any type of terrain is “very important.”

“As a platoon leader, you lead your platoon through the woods. You’re leading 40 Soldiers through the woods, so you need to know where you’re going,” Richison said.

Before their land navigation skills are challenged, however, each Cadet must pass a mandatory map-reading test that proves they are more than capable of leading themselves on the tough trek.

Preparation for the map-reading test begins back on campus, long before Cadets arrive for summer training.

Captain Gardy Senat, a cadre member for Army ROTC at Southern University and A&M College, says that map reading is more than just being able pass the written test.

“It’s crucial. It’s one of the necessary, fundamental skills that any Soldier needs to possess because you have to know where you’re at and you need to know where you’re going,” Senat said.

Though taking the written test isn’t as action-packed as other portions of Cadet Summer Training, Senat says as leaders, it’s vital that the Cadets know it and know it well.

“Most of the students that come to camp… they’ll graduate school, will commission, and will most likely lead America’s sons and daughters in combat. Therefore, they have to take it seriously,” he added.

Cadets of 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp concentrate while they take the required written map-reading test July 18 at Fort Knox. Photo by Sade’ Wilson

Map reading is required to graduate from Advanced Camp, but what happens in the event of failure?

“If a Cadet is not performing as well as they should be, they’ll get retrained. Cadre will pull them aside and retrain them, identify their shortcomings and what they’re struggling with, and then, after that, they’ll get a chance to retest,” Senat said.

Map reading is one of the few but essential skills Cadets must know before heading out to the field, Senat added.

Soon, these Cadets will face a culminating field-training exercise which will further test their skills they’ve learned thus far at Advanced Camp.

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: