Last Updated: June 30th, 2023By
Cadets begin their march from the Logistical Support Area (LSA) to Schroeder Range at Fort Knox, Ky. June 9, 2023. They are headed toward Schroeder Ranger where they will shoot rifles. | Photo by Lanie Guinn, Ball State University, CST Public Affairs Office

FORT KNOX, KY. – In the Cadet Summer Training (CST) program, the Cadets complete an exercise called Battle March and Shoot (BMS) on June 9, 2023. They gathered at Logistical Support Area (LSA) Baker on base at Fort Knox and then began their Four-mile foot march to Schroeder Range carrying 35-pound ruck sacks.

By the time they arrive at Schroeder Range, their heart rate is up, and they immediately begin to receive directions to get into a position to shoot. This fast-paced process shows how the Cadets do under pressure.

Cadet Ryder Burk, Marion Military Institute, hit all of the necessary targets for the Alt. C qualification at Fort Knox, Ky. June 9, 2023. | Photo by Lanie Guinn, Ball State University, CST Public Affairs Office

The Cadets are issued one target and two magazines with 20 rounds each. Their goal was to put four rounds in each target from 25-meters away. This exercise is part of a qualification test called Alt-C, or Alternative Course of Fire. The target itself does not move, but some targets are bigger and some smaller to represent a change in distance. They represent ranges from 50 meters to 300 meters. Cadets shoot one magazine at a time with two and a half minutes per iteration.

Cadet Rachel Barrows, from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa., participated in the BMS. Barrows explained the event after completing the exercise.

“I was extremely nervous just because everyone here has different experience levels. I know me, and I’m just not strong at shooting, but I’m all open to learn and get better,” said Barrows.

Cadets must complete CST in order to commission as second lieutenants. CST provides a training and evaluation environment over the course of 35 days.

The BMS is just one event during the training. Cadets are required to shoot a total of 40 rounds and score four hits within each target shown on the sheet. Cadet Ryder Burk from Marion Military Institute in Alabama hit all 40 rounds through the proper targets.

Cadets are aiming and about to shoot in their assigned lane at Fort Knox, Ky. June 9, 2023. | Photo by Lanie Guinn, Ball State University, CST Public Affairs Office

 “I was a little scared coming in because the Alt-C is definitely a curveball to someone who has only shot it twice,” Burk said. “When you’re at the range, there’s just a certain mood you get into where there’s a rhythmic fire, pause, fire, pause. It’s almost like runner’s high.”

For the rest of CST, the Cadets still have a lot to experience and accomplish. Events such as the rappel tower and CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) defense training. Brayden Love, from the University of Wyoming, said what he is excited for down the road.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of my fellow Cadets here with me and really getting to see how they run their tactics in the STX (Situational Training Exercise where the Cadets must work together to achieve a common goal).