FORT KNOX, Ky. — 5th Regiment, Basic Camp Cadets learned how to group and zero their M-4 rifles at Morgan Riley Range July 26 during Cadet Summer Training.
“We started with grouping and zeroing. Grouping is just get all of your shots to be together in a little group – hence grouping. Zeroing is just trying to get them as close to the center of the target as possible,” explained Cadet Gregory Cottrell, Virginia Commonwealth University.
When explaining what group and zero was, Cadets created a few different similes. One Cadet found that group and zero could be explained in a youthful perspective.
“It’s sort of like coloring in the lines in a coloring book. You’re going to start off scribbling all over the place, but as you get older, wiser, and have more experiences, you’re going to start getting in the lines,” elaborated Cottrell. “You’re going to start getting the colors correct and, eventually if you take it far enough, you’ll start making some beautiful pictures.”
One Cadet found group and zero was similar to the game of darts.
“It’s like darts. Throwing darts in the same spot is grouping. Zeroing is getting those darts in the center of the red eye,” stated Cadet Tyler Ritter, Valley Forge Military Institute.
Another Cadet found that lining up the sites was similar to riding a bicycle.
“It’s basically like riding a bike. You have your training wheels and that’s like your grouping. You’re wobbling left and right, but you’re still riding a straight line. Once you take those training wheels off, you’re still leaning to the left and the right,” explained Cadet Emma Haynes, University of Dayton. “You have to find a balance. You kind of have to find that balance while you’re on that bike. Same thing with that zero. You have to find that center piece.”
Cadets considered why qualifying with the M-4 part of training was important.
“Well, this is our Basic Camp, our basic training. We have to have knowledge of everything and all the basics of being in the Army. Even though I’m not going to Infantry, I still need to have experience handling an M-4,” said Cadet Thais Rodriguez, University of Puerto Rico. “That’s basically what this is all for, to gain experience in all the important things and the basic things of the Army.”
Cadets also considered advice they would give to future Basic Camp Cadets. Some advised listening as their piece of guidance.
“My advice to them is listen. They are giving you everything that you need to do and some people just can’t listen. Listening is the most important thing by far,” stated Haynes.
Another Cadet offered focus being the primary concern.
“Focus on the task at hand, make sure all of your equipment is in good condition, and carry through with your mission. It’ll be alright. It doesn’t matter if there’s smoke in your face or the sun is in your eyes, carry on and do your duty,” stated Cottrell.
One final Cadet advised Cadets to adhere to the words of their superiors.
“Just follow what the higher ups say. They know. They’ve passed through this. They know how it works,” encouraged Rodriguez. “They can help if anything goes wrong. Just follow the rules and pay attention when they’re teaching you because they’re giving it for a reason.”