By: Madison Thompson
FORT KNOX, Ky. – 8th Regiment, Basic Camp, Cadets zeroed and qualified with their M16 rifles at Canby Hill Range, July 24, during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox. At this course, Cadets used live rounds to practice firing at paper targets, which simulate varying distances from 50 meters to 300 meters.
“They’re going through basic marksmanship instruction. For a lot of Cadets, it’s the first time they’ve ever shot a weapon. First, they have to zero the weapon. So, get a couple rounds close together on the target where they’re aiming. Then they’re going to qualify, where they have to, on the paper target, hit 26 out of 40,” said 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Van Grinsven.
There are several purposes for this training.
“Every Soldier is an Infantry Soldier at heart. No matter what you’re doing, you need to know basic marksmanship and the fundamentals of being a Soldier,” said Van Grinsven. “So, Infantry Soldiers and marksmanship plays a huge role in our wars. One of the things that makes the United States Army the greatest fighting force on this planet is our basic infantryman skills and that every Soldier can accomplish and execute those skills in the field of battle.”
“Of course, as officers, we need to be proficient in weapon systems and, as Soldiers in general, we need to be proficient in our weapon systems. But, it’s also about having confidence in the weapons that we have and being confident in yourself and your abilities,” said Cadet Joshua Passey, Ball State University, Mooresville, Ind.
There is another reason for zeroing and qualifying a M16 rifle.
“The purpose of this training is weapons familiarization. Our weapons are one of the most important pieces of equipment. It’s important to be proficient with using them,” said Cadet Casey Patterson, Central Michigan University, Auburn, Mich. “It’s important training because it’s what we’re going to end up needing to protect ourselves and our comrades later on in our careers.”
Cadets and Cadre offered advice for Cadets who will be qualifying and zeroing on the range in the future.
“Some advice I’d give to them. I’d say, first of all, treat every weapon with respect, because they’re designed to destroy whatever they’re aiming at. Weapons safety. Whenever you’re at a range, safety is the most important aspect. Then, just be calm, confident and remember the fundamentals and what you were taught. Then, just execute. No one’s going to be perfect when they start. You just keep training and training and you’ll get better and better as long as you focus on your weaknesses,” Van Grinsven stated.
“Listen to your Cadre. They definitely know what they’re talking about, and that’s for all things. They have tips. They know what they’re talking about. They’ve done it before numerous times. Even if you’ve shot before, and I’ve shot before, listening to the advice of the Cadre helps,” Passey stated. “I think every shot, you’re a little bit nervous because you want to make sure it counts and it’s done right. But, I think, with a bit of experience and making sure you run through the steps that they’ve taught us, you can make each shot work for you.”
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: https://my.goarmy.com/info/rotc1/index.jsp?iom=IP08-AUTO-R1NA-BR-XXX-XX-XXX-MO-XX-X-BRCMAC:IP08