FORT KNOX, Ky. — 1st Regiment, Basic Camp, Cadets completed Land Navigation training, a vital tool for all soldiers on July 3.
“From the Private to the General, this is a skill that every soldier needs to know,” Staff Sgt. Richard Heinzman, a land navigation instructor, said.
Cadet Lucas Johnson from East Carolina University checks his map during his search for at least three points. | Photo by Luke Heibert, CST Public Affairs Office
Cadets were responsible for finding at least three out of four given points in order to achieve a passing grade. While time played a part in this training (three hours to complete the course), rushing could cause Cadets to make unwarranted mistakes.
“I think a lot of it is being precise,” Cadet Connor Crago, attending New Mexico Military Institute, said.
He continued, saying that overlooking the importance of plotting grid coordinates often causes mistakes.
“It’s very important [to be precise] because if you’re off by one degree, that’s going to continue, that’s going to multiply,” Cadet Ryan Borg, from New Mexico Military Institute, emphasized. “You can be off by one degree on paper, but that could be 30 meters out here.”
Cadet Lucas Johnson from East Carolina University (L) watches as Cadet Addison Hurt from the University of Hawaii (R) plots points on their map before stepping off for Land Navigation Training.| Photo by Luke Heibert, CST Public Affairs Office
Though it may seem pointless to learn an outdated means of navigation, it isn’t all for naught.
“If you’re deployed overseas, there’s a lot of high-tech technology that is given to soldiers these days that fails,” Heinzman said. “And if that fails then you have to get from point A to point B utilizing a map, a compass and a protractor.”
Land Navigation Training teaches more than what its name suggests; it teaches cadets valuable skills about leadership.
“I feel like this is good for leadership because it really helps to practice keeping a calm, level head,” Borg said.
Cadets Eriel Vargos from the University of Puerto Rico (L) and John Schuster from the University of Portland (R) plot points on their map before stepping off for Land Navigation Training. | Photo by Luke Heibert, CST Public Affairs Office
This training isn’t one-dimensional and offers Cadets confidence that they can take beyond Basic Camp.
“To be a leader, you have to be self-confident, and the land navigation, nine times out of ten, is done by yourself,” Heinzman said. “You have to have the confidence within yourself that you know the skills that have been taught today that you can go out there and you can find your points and come back and be successful.”