Just one week after their arrival at Fort Knox, KY, the Cadets of 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp marched to their hand grenade training on the sunny morning of June 14, 2021.
Despite having been strangers when they got here, these Cadets had been spending almost every minute of every day together for the past week, and it showed in their behavior. No Cadet seemed out of place, and they used every minute of down time to make conversation. “Delta company, fourth platoon feels like family already,” said Cadet Liberty Henson from the University of Central Florida.
“At first it was kind of a little awkward…” said Jamal Murphy, a former division one basketball player, now turned U.S. Army Cadet at Towson University, “…but now I look forward to training because I know everybody is cool and everybody, you know, we have a good time. It makes the time go by faster.”
Many Cadets including Cadet Murphy were very confident, and thought that their history in ball-sports would make for an easy win in today’s training event. However, Captain Baron Smith of Penn State University was adamant that throwing a grenade is completely different from throwing a ball.
These were non-explosive dummy grenades, but they were designed to simulate the feeling of real ones which are rather unwieldy.
“It’s really ultimately to give them the confidence so that when they eventually throw a real hand grenade, they know what they’re doing and they have the understanding of the principles behind hand grenade throwing,” described Captain Smith.
The Cadets learned to throw from behind cover in two positions: first beginning in a prone position and rising to a crouch to throw, then learning to begin from a crouch and rising to a standing position to throw.
They sat ducked behind cover in either of these two positions and began by peeking over to spot their target. After ducking back down, they go through the process of arming their hand grenade. From there, they would quickly rise up, take position and throw, then drop back down behind cover. The goal was to land the grenade within a five-meter radius of the target.
To help ensure their success, professional instructors from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment in Fort Hood, TX, took charge of the event, making sure to hammer in the sweep, twist, and pull technique.
Sweep the handle,
Twist the pin and,
Pull, then the grenade will be armed and ready to throw.
In the end, almost all Cadets had hit the target and had met this event’s requirements for RECONDO, an award signifying the top performers of the program.
“The sergeant I was with, he really helped me out and I appreciate it and I’m grateful,” said Cadet Mason Haro from the University of Tampa. “Honestly I couldn’t do it without him because I’ve never thrown a grenade before.”