Cadets from 1st Regiment, Basic Camp, help each other cross a flooded trench during 1st Regiment, Basic Camp, Buddy Land Navigation event at Fort Knox, Ky., on July 12, 2021. After a night of heavy rain, Cadets had to navigate across heavy mud, deep puddles of water and slippery mountainous terrain to find their points. | Photo by Oscar Fuentes, Cadet Summer Training Public Affairs office.

For Cadets who joined ROTC during their sophomore or senior years, or college students looking to take a peek into the military, Cadet Summer Training (CST) prepares a 31-day Basic Camp to introduce them to the Army.  

One of the tasks Cadets learn during this Basic Camp is the Buddy Land Navigation; a basic soldiering skill that trains them to use rudimentary tools to find their way in case their GPS or electronic communications fails them.

“Doing it in an area that you’re familiar with such like a field at your school and doing it in the real wild are two totally different things,” said Adam Clark, a Cadet from the University of Florida.

During Buddy Land Navigation, Cadets pair up in teams of four and set out to find two randomly assigned points in under two hours using a map, a protractor, a scale and a compass. Adding to the challenge of the event, Cadets must battle the elements in an imposing 3 1/2 square miles area.

To find the points, Cadets can use multiple navigation techniques like Terrain Association and Dead Reckoning.

“Deadreckoning is kind of a risky move so we are probably not going to do that as much,” said Jordan Lofgren, a Cadet from Craton University. “You go from wherever you are straight to the point. You don’t know what is between you and that point. There could be creeks, hills, cliffs, whatever; is better to navigate more fluently.”

Cadet Zachary Irwin, Florida State University, guides his team towards their first point of the day during the Buddy Land Navigation event at Fort Knox, Ky., on July 12, 2021. Cadets were challenged to find two randomly assigned points and return to Cadre in two hours to test their knowledge of Land Navigation. | Photo by Oscar Fuentes, CST Public Affairs Office.

Unlike the Advanced Camp Land Navigation, Cadets only need to attempt the event to move on with their training, but nonetheless, Cadets participated in the training like it was the real deal.

“Right now, my boots are pretty wet and my ankle is pretty sprained up but I love it,” said Zachary Irwin, Florida State University. “I love being out here. It just makes you a better person. It makes you a tougher person.”