FORT KNOX, Ky. — A day after Fort Knox celebrated Independence Day with fireworks, 7th Regiment Advanced Camp Cadets practiced with a very different kind of explosive – hand grenades.
Once Cadets at Christensen Hand Grenade Range learned how to handle hand grenades, they completed the Hand Grenade Qualifications Course.
In order to simulate combat conditions, Cadets maneuvered their lane, rushing forward before low or high crawling to cover. They climbed up over walls, before throwing a grenade from different positions. Cadets had 7 grenades to engage 6 targets.
Unlike live hand grenade training, Cadets use dummy grenades while completing the Hand Grenade Qualifications Course. This allows for Cadets to complete the realistic simulation, safely.
Safety is the most important thing while completing this training, said Cadet Kameran Brock, from Old Dominion University.
“All of the NCO’s (non-commissioned officers) have your back on the course,” he said. “That way nothing goes wrong and they can ensure our safety.”
Safety is also a key factor when it comes to overcoming nerves once you step onto the hand grenade course said Samuel Gordon, from Indiana University.
“I was absolutely nervous when we first started,” he said. “But the NCO’s and Cadre in charge of each lane are so helpful, I didn’t feel unsafe at any point.”
Michele Mayor, a University of Utah Cadet and a mother of one, hopes to use this training to not only become a better soldier, but to also gain confidence in every aspect of her life.
“This was my first time throwing a hand grenade, and it was pretty intimidating” Mayor said. “I hope through this training I gain more confidence and motivation, because those are two things I’ll need in order to make it through the rest of Advanced camp.”
Despite nerves, hot weather, and muddy courses the Cadets showed nothing but happiness and excitement to be there.
Cadet Alexa Ricks, from Gonzaga University, expressed that the bond she had made with her fellow Cadets makes even the toughest training easier to endure.
“I chose Army ROTC because I love the family aspect around it. Having a good relationship with your platoon mates is super important. There’s always going to be an event that you haven’t done, and you’ll have to humble yourself and ask the Cadets in your platoon if they can help you” she said.
“There’s always at least one person who will drop everything to give you advice so you can succeed.”