FORT KNOX, Ky. — During the Daytime Land Navigation training the Cadets from 2nd Regiment Alpha and Bravo Companies were tasked today to find three of four points provided to them in the approximately 1800 sq. km. training area and be back at their starting point in four hours.
In one word, describe this training.
Capt. Deshon Sims from the University of Arkansas was one of the Cadre members overseeing the course. He was one of the many who found this event built on more than just the crucial navigation skills.
“It builds confidence for them to know how to navigate using their map, a compass and a protractor,” Sims said. “So it builds that confidence. So they know that, hey I can go out there and find that point. Because in certain situations they will need to know those skills as officers and as leaders.”
His one word to describe Land Nav was, “Determination.”
“The reason why is because right now the weather is great,” Sims said. “Sometimes it’s rainy, it’s windy, it’s cold and it can get miserable out there. So as long as they have determination, they can go out there and find their points.”
Kayla Wherry hailing from Fort Meyers, Florida, and a Cadet from Florida State University had another word in mind, “Multifaceted.”
“There’s lots of different aspects that go into assessing your leadership and what kind of person you are,” Wherry said.
This idea of multifaceted training complemented why she thought the event was so important.
“I think it teaches us how to perform under stressful circumstances,” Wherry said. “In our future as officers we will be put under stressful circumstances, and while it may not necessarily be finding points out in the field and land navigation, as I’m a nursing major, we still need to learn how to deal with stress and fatigue and still be able to get the job done.”
Cadet Nicholas Pitre from Calvin University, and a native of Jacksonville, Florida, offered yet another word on this training, “Grind.”
“It’s a grind because you fall asleep at midnight, wake up at 4 a.m., then you walk around for 10 miles,” Pitre said. “Then you do it again the next day. Find what kind of things are crawling on you in the morning. It’s amazing.”
However, the grind was not unwarranted as Pitre would go on to explain why this training was important to all Cadets pushing through.
“This training is really important because they want us to master our warrior tasks,” Pitre said. “To be in charge of somebody you have to be an expert on the subject or you aren’t going to earn the respect of your followers or the people you are supposed to lead. You in turn have to hold yourself to a higher standard in order to train others.”
Erin Flaherty of Rochester, New York, and a Clemson University Cadet may have cheated slightly on her one word, but it nevertheless rings true, “Mental-challenge.”
“For land nav especially, I find that it’s very important because technology isn’t always functional,” Flaherty said. “But it is also a mind game. They’re making this to be challenging and they are forcing you to stay calm and not stress out. If you don’t find your first point you tense up and you freak out. So, it’s definitely a mind game to see if you can operate under pressure.”
To help Cadets with this mental challenge she offered some advice.
“Utilize the roads. And if you find yourself starting to freak out, stop, take a breath and just relax,” Flaherty said. “Realize that, yes, it is important in the moment, but that it isn’t career ending. So just take a breath and relax.”