A compass, a map and a protractor are a Cadet’s only companions during Land Navigation. While the journey may seem long and strenuous, Cadets possess all they need to succeed.

Land Navigation is often one of the most daunting for Cadets as a must-pass event during Cadet Summer Training. Battling the elements of the Kentucky wilderness and humidity is only one part of that challenge. Every Cadet is tasked with finding three out of four assigned points on a map within four hours.

6th Regiment Advanced Camp Charlie and Delta Companies braved the rain in the early morning on July 1, 2021, wading through thick brush and vegetation to search for their points.

For Noah Romig, University of Delaware, strategy was the most important part.

“You have to think strategically in terms of resources, how much time do I have and how far do I have to move? If there’s a cluster of points that are further away, I’d probably go to those first so that I can spend more time there and then get the points that are closer to the starting point after,” he said.

A Cadet uses his protractor to plot coordinates on a map during the Day Land Navigation test for Cadet Summer Training in Fort Knox, Ky on July 1, 2021. | Photo by Olivia Van Den Heuvel, CST Public Affairs Office

He mentioned that he planned a route that took him in a large circle so he was able to find all four points quickly.

For Cadet Haley Owens, University of Arkansas, leaning on her battle buddies was key.

“It was important to learn from someone that was super strong with their Land Navigation skills. You can really learn from your peers and figure it out. Because of them I went in really confident. It took me about 2 hours to find my four points today,” she said.

Romig and Owens agreed that Land Navigation teaches Cadets crucial skills required to become an officer.

Cadet Benjamin Douglas, Ohio State University, punches his scorecard with a clacker, confirming that he has found the correct coordinate point he was assigned during Day Land Navigation for Cadet Summer Training in Fort Knox, Ky on July 1, 2021. | Photo by Olivia Van Den Heuvel, CST Public Affairs Office

“Some of these people are going to be infantry officers and pilots and if you’re out anywhere in the field and you’re leading people, you need to know where you’re going,” said Romig, who hopes to have a long-term career in the Army as a MEDIVAC pilot.

“It teaches you independence and confidence to carry out a certain task by yourself. It’s pretty cool, if I got lost in the woods someday I could figure out a way out with just a compass,” said Owens, a nursing major.

If Cadets find themselves struggling to find their points, it can be helpful to realign their goals.

“You need to be adaptable, take a step back and use other methods to figure out where you are. Sometimes I think about the influential people that I aspire to be like and that gives me the motivation I need,” said Romig.

He prepared for the Land Navigation course by practicing with his university’s ROTC program before arriving in Fort Knox for Cadet Summer Training.

All Advanced Camp Cadets will repeat the Land Navigation course one more time at night, where they will be required to find one out of two points in order to pass.