FORT KNOX, Ky., — When teenagers turn 16 in America, some parents go out of their way to make sure this day is a special one. Parties, limousine rides and expensive gifts are not a rare sight on this day. AnnaLee Reid’s Sweet 16 was just a little different.
Reid, a Cadet from 10th Regiment, Advanced Camp, who attends Central Washington University, received a present that unknowingly started her on the road to become a U.S. Army Officer.
“My parents for my 16 birthday took me out and taught me how to shoot a handgun,” said Reid. “That was like the best present I could have ever gotten.”
While using a handgun is a very different experience from shooting the standard issued M4 rifle, the shooting fundamentals remain the same.
“I am a military police officer so we do a lot of shooting; not necessarily on the M4 but practice is practice with any weapon.”
Shooting the M4 rifle is one of the key components of Cadet Summer Training (CST) and Cadets begin practicing the basics as soon as they arrive to Fort Knox, Ky. Prior to ever shooting their first round however, Cadets begin learning how to feel comfortable with the gun by carrying it with them everywhere they go and by undergoing a series of training events known as tables.
The culmination of these tables is the Table VI or the Individual Weapons Qualification. During Table VI, Cadets have 40 rounds to engage 40 pop-up targets from four different shooting positions, and must score a minimum of 23 targets out of 40 to qualify for the event.
Carrying the torch for 10th Regiment was Cameron Keeler, a Cadet from Central Washington University who shot a 37-40 on his first try, and was the first Cadet from his regiment to qualify and rate as an expert shooter.
For Keeler, the skills he and the rest of his fellow Cadets have gained go beyond just shooting, “rifle marksmanship teaches you a lot about discipline. You have to care for your weapon or else is not going to care for you,” he said.