Last Updated: February 8th, 2024By

3rd Regiment Cadets completed grouping and zeroing with their M4 carbines in preparation for their rifle qualification at Fort Knox, Ky., June 16, 2022. 

A U.S. Army Cadet shoots five rounds while grouping and zeroing an M4 carbine at Fort Knox, Ky., June 16, 2022. Cadets had to make any necessary adjustments to their sights, so they were ready for rifle qualifications. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

Cadet Vincent McGinnis, a graduate of Penn State Brandywine, said he enjoys grouping and zeroing. Grouping and zeroing, which is part of Cadet Summer Training helps Cadets be sure their sights are set properly. 

“Grouping and zeroing entails taking five shot rounds and trying to place them as close to the center of the target as possible and making adjustments on your sight so that your sight lines up with where your rifle is aiming,” McGinnis said. 

McGinnis said the training went well for him. 

A U.S Army Cadet adjusts windage on his ACOG sight during grouping and zeroing training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 16, 2022. The training focused on allowing Cadets to practice grouping their shots and making necessary adjustments to their M4 carbines. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

Cadet Demi Jones, a graduate student with Minnesota State University, said she was feeling good about the training. 

“I’m prior service, so this is nothing new to me,” Jones said. “In here, like all the shots going off in the background, it’s kind of like music to my ears, so I enjoy it.” 

Jones said she liked the time given to prepare Cadets as they complete their weapons training. Cadets do EST training one day, grouping and zeroing the next day, and then qualify with their weapons. She said she appreciates how the training is spread over multiple days instead of happening in one day, which she experienced during her enlistment. 

Jones was a prior enlisted Soldier, who worked as a mass communication specialist during her three-year enlistment. 

“I basically would go around and conduct interviews,” Jones said. “I would complete documentaries; I would take pictures. I was also part of a videography team as well.” 

Jones said she always wanted to join the Army as an officer. She said she enlisted first, so she could experience being a Soldier before she became responsible for other Soldiers and their lives.

For many Cadets leaving loved ones to come to CST is hard. Jones got married earlier this year. She said being out of touch with her husband for CST is difficult, but pursuing goals that will help them both is worth it. 

“It’s a little challenging, but it’s all for the future,” Jones said. “It’s all for the best for the both of us, me and him, so I don’t mind at all. It’s only temporary. It’s a rough 30 something days, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice and just put my best foot forward.”

Jones’ husband is on active duty and stationed in Hawaii, while she attends school almost 4,000 miles away in Minnesota. 

Jones said once she finishes school, she wants to branch into the medical service corps because she wants to work in the behavioral health field. 

“It’s something that’s very overlooked, but something that needs to be addressed to the center front just like physical health, just like PT,” Jones said. 

Jones said she liked the amount of time given to Cadets during their grouping and zeroing training day. 

A U.S. Army Cadet marks his target after completing grouping and zeroing at Fort Knox, Ky., June 16, 2022. Grouping and zeroing M4 carbines is an important step in Cadet Summer Training. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

“It’s good because today we get to really focus on the techniques of grouping and zeroing and whoever doesn’t group and zero the first time or the first go, they get to go to the remedial session and retry it all over again,” Jones said. 

Grouping and zeroing is a small, but important step for Cadet’s training to become officers and move on into their various branches within the Army. 

About the Author: Erinn Finley
Erinn Finley
Erinn Finley is a senior at Murray State University majoring in journalism. She enjoys writing, reading, travel and photography. She worked for the student newspaper at her campus to further her writing skills outside of the classroom. During the Cadet Summer Training internship, she hopes to further her photography and writing skills.