FORT KNOX, Ky.—9th Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets were tested to shoot down pop-up targets during the Weapons Qualification July 21, 2018, at George Blair Range.
Shooting practice is one of the most exciting events that happens for Cadets during their summer training. The weapon qualification helps Cadets prepare for future collective training and have confidence in their weapon systems.
Cadets learned fundamental skills of shooting at their universities such as breathing, trigger squeeze or body positioning. Every Soldier and, particularly, every Officer should be familiar with the weapon systems.
Alexandra Branson, St. Cloud State University, has been a national guard for three years. She felt that her prior working experience supported her a lot in the weapon’s training.
“We qualified for the paper target yesterday, and we are qualifying on the pop-up targets for the Recondo right now,” Branson said. “I used to do this every day as a national guard, so I feel it’s a little bit smoother for me to shoot on a pop-up target.”
Qualification of weapons is a requirement for Advanced Camp Cadets.
Learning about the shooting will teach Cadets many vital skills, the most important being discipline and safety awareness. It also brings with it a great sense of achievement and confidence.
Kevin Steiner, James Madison University, celebrated his 22-year-old birthday during the Weapon Qualification.
“This is my second year in Kentucky for the Advanced Camp training. I got the best platoon, and I’m so happy to celebrate my 22nd birthday with all the fellow Cadets,” Steiner said.
“It’s the final day for some of the Cadets to get expert to see if they can achieve the hardest test to receive the Recondo Badge,” Steiner said. “Moving all day long without enough sleep and eating MREs for every single meal, I felt my biggest challenge is waking up in the morning.”
Training familiarizes Cadets with select U.S. weapons, capabilities and employment techniques. However, spending 21 days in the field, being hungry and tired all the time, confidence and morale become more critical for these Cadets during the training.
Branson advised Cadets, “It’s a good experience even though it sucks sometimes. But as long as you have a good attitude about it, you will finally get through of it.”
“Coming in with an open mind and get ready to rock!”