By: Madison Thompson
FORT KNOX, Ky. – 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp, Cadets performed weapons maintenance on their issued M4 rifles, July 31, during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox. Maintenance is an essential part of training as CST starts to come to a close for 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp, Cadets.
“We’ve got them cleaning their weapons out. They’ve been out in the field for about two weeks now. So, their weapons have a lot of carbon, tar and other stuff in them,” said 2nd Lt. Willie Walker. “They’ve been shooting a lot for the past couple days and it’s just a massive buildup. If they haven’t been taking care of it every couple of days … it’s a tremendous amount of buildup. That’s going to make the weapon malfunction, it won’t shoot like it’s supposed to and then, for the following years and for the Cadets next year, it’s going to be a pain to deal with.”
Weapons maintenance includes disassembly of the rifle as well as cleaning each individual part and piece.
“It is a very, very rigorous process to clean the weapons. After firing your weapon, it builds up carbon inside. So, in order to get that out, it takes multiple sessions to clean it to turn it in,” said Cadet Brittni Johnson, Florida Atlantic University, Atlanta, Ga.
Cadets clean their rifles with their issued weapons cleaning kit.
“You’re provided with a weapons cleaning kit. Inside that comes with little square cloths, it comes with a toothbrush, pretty much, to scrub down old rust, dirt and debris,” said Cadet Bryce Strohecker, Colorado State University, Loveland, Colo.
There are a few different ways to know whether or not the weapon is clean.
“Rule of thumb is, if you are able to stick your finger in it and it comes out clear, then it means it’s clean. If it comes out black, you keep cleaning it,” advised Walker.
There are multiple reasons for Cadets cleaning their M4 rifles.
“It’s very important to do weapons maintenance in order for the weapon to be able to fire correctly. If you don’t clean the weapon regularly, it will not function. The whole point of us having our weapons is for them to function when they need to,” said Johnson.
“I think the purpose of weapons maintenance is that it’s a basic Soldier skill and all Soldiers, no matter your branch or MOS, needs to know how to do it,” Strohecker stated. “Your weapon is pretty much what protects you when it comes down range and it’s a pretty important part of this as well.”
Cadets offer advice for future regiments for weapons as well as for Advanced Camp during the next CST.
“Anytime you have downtime, just a quick wipe down will help it in the end. It makes it easier when it comes down to actually turning in your weapon and your gear,” stated Strohecker. “So, maintain it every night as best you can. Just a quick wipe up and clean down of your weapon … My advice would be just to make sure that you’re maintaining your knowledge, read up on your ranger handbook and make sure you’re rucking. It’s not that bad.”
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