Fort Knox, Ky. – It was a sunny morning on the George Blair Range for the 5th regiment Cadets at weapons qualification today.
The Cadets shot at pop-targets with the goal of shooting 23 out of the 40 targets, at a minimum. For some Cadets, this was a first exposure to pop-up targets.
For Cadet Justin Larson from St. Simons Island, Georgia, who attends the University of Georgia, shooting at pop-up targets was a completely new experience.
“This is my first time shooting on a pop-up range,” Larson said. “Honestly, I was nervous because I had never qualified on a pop-up range but it kind of confirmed my confidence in my shooting.”
Larson said he tried to stick to his training and was pleased with his results.
“I mainly practiced the fundamentals that we were taught and stuck to them,” Larson said. “I was happy and relieved that I did as well as I hoped I would. I shot expert, so I am happy with that.”
Cadet Marion Sancoh, from New York City, New York, attending the College of Staten Island whose ROTC program is hosted by the City College of New York, was very determined to qualify on her fist attempt despite her lack of experience with pop-up targets.
“It was actually pretty cool,” Sancoh said. “This is my second time doing it, so every day I do it, I get confidence. The extra two days of practice really helped out and made today easy. I was really determined to get a go my first try.”
Upon receiving her qualifying score, Sancoh was quite relieved.
“I was extremely surprised and amazed,” Sancoh said before heading down range to qualify. “I am happy because I do not have to re-do it and I am good with the score that I got.”
Cadet Meredith Halick from Ramsey, New Jersey, a student at Norwich University, said that while she had experience with pop-up targets, the qualification environment added new stresses.
“Personally, I have done it two or three times but not really under this kind of pressure,” Halick said. “I am a little nervous, but I’m sure we will all be able to do it. We haven’t had a lot of sleep though, so we will see.”
Cadet Brydon Jackson from Fredericksburg, Virginia, a student at Liberty University, said that despite qualifying, Jackson wishes he could have scored higher.
“I was happy I qualified, but I was disappointed in myself because I know I could have done better,” Jackson said. “It was my personal low, I usually do 38, but I did a 27. I am a little disappointed by that.”
Regardless of previous experience with pop-up targets the Cadets enjoyed their time on the range working to qualify with their weapons.
“It is the most Army thing we do is coming out here and shooting guns,” Larson said. “It is a whole lot of fun sending rounds down range.”