A Cadet from 3rd Regiment tosses an M69 simulation grenade at a target 35 meters away for a grenade training exercise during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Ky., on June 18. The M69 simulation grenade is the same size and weight of its real counterpart, the M67 hand grenade. | Photo by Nathan Abbott, CST Public Affairs Office.

“Currently, the Cadets are receiving a block of instruction on hand grenade identification,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas George Gonnion. Cadets from 3rd Regiment were taking instruction a short distance away, sitting on the red Kentucky earth and enjoying the nice weather while they take in the basics of grenade training.

“They’re learning the different types and capabilities of grenades that we use in the United States Army,” said Gonnion. “Following the class, they will do a practical exercise with the two different throwing techniques that we’re going to be teaching them today, which is standing and kneeling [position].”

This exercise in throwing techniques is aimed at preparing them for throwing the M69 simulation grenade at a target 35 meters from their position. The lethal range of the grenade the M69 represents, the M67, is 5 meters, which means Cadets will have to be accurate with their throwing arm to hit the target.

Wyatt Drake from the University of Colorado is one of the Cadets participating in the training exercise. Drake is the first in his family to join the Army.

“I started out in ROTC about three years ago,” said Drake. “I knew I wanted to do military service at some point in my life, so I figured I’d join ROTC to get myself through college and also have some great life experiences.”

Of all the branches in the military, the Army seemed the most appealing to Drake.

“I’d like to be an infantry officer if I can and the Army is the best place for that,” said Drake. “I joined the Army because I wanted the leadership experience and also to be able to travel and serve my country at the same time.”

When considering the grenade throwing exercise, Drake was focused on a couple aspects that he hoped to take away from the training.

A Cadet from 3rd Regiment throws a rubber grenade at a target 35 meters downrange after being instructed on how to do so during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Ky., on June 18. Before throwing the grenades, the Cadets must first learn and then replicate how to use the device. | Photo by Nathan Abbott, CST Public Affairs Office.

“First off to get myself familiar with how to do this, because I’ve never thrown a grenade before,” Drake said, “also to have a good time at the same time. This is probably one of the nicest days we’ve had out in the field so far, so I’m enjoying it a lot.”

Cadet Summer Training is aimed at teaching future Army officers the important skills necessary to be effective leaders, in and out of combat. Hand grenade training is no exception, and Drake understands the necessity of learning these techniques.

“Grenades are something that’ll be a tool of the trade,” said Drake. “Knowing how to use a grenade can mean the difference between mission success and mission failure down the road.”

About the Author: Nathan Abbott
Nathan Abbott