“When you’re crawling, it felt like forever,” said Cadet Thomas Damsgard, University of Alabama. “I felt like I was crawling for a mile.”
An obstacle that is approximately 100 meters long stands between Cadets of 2nd Regiment, Basic Camp, and Cadet Summer Training graduation.
The Night Infiltration Course fires live rounds above Cadets while they low crawl the distance under and over obstacles to include logs. Sand makes it into every crevice of their uniform as they drag themselves, as well as the additional weight of a plated vest and helmet through the course.
The extra weight makes it physically exhausting, but it is a mental test just as much as it is a physical.
“The feeling they are having is probably fatigue,” said Pfc. Walter Moreno, an Assistant Gunner on the course. “They probably start off straight out of the gate – and once they start getting towards the middle that’s when they start getting tired and everything.”
Cadet Imani Johnson, Georgia Military College, felt the nerves when the first rounds fired.
“I kind of got a little nervous,” said Johnson. “But I got over it. I was just pushing myself and telling myself ‘oh you have to get through this. You’ll be done’”.
400 rounds are fired per iteration, to include tracer rounds that race overhead with a bright red trail of light. Occasionally, a bright flare launches into the sky, illuminating the entire course which helps with the limited visibility of the night – giving Cadets a light at the end of the tunnel with less than ten days left at Basic Camp.