5th Regiment Cadets worked on grouping and zeroing M4 carbines at Fort Knox, Ky., June 26, 2022. 

Cadet Ryan Miller from Rutgers University said they were zeroing their weapons in preparation for their upcoming weapons qualification. He also said this was not his first time completing the M4 weapons qualification. 

U.S. Army Cadet Ryan Miller with 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, shoots an M4 Carbine for grouping and zeroing practice at Fort Knox, Ky., June 26, 2022. Grouping and zeroing training, which is part of Cadet Summer Training, prepared Cadets for their upcoming weapons qualifications. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

“It’s my second time ever qualifying with this weapon, so I’m not too nervous since I have previous experience,” Miller said. 

Miller said his first time qualifying was at Basic Camp last year. 

“I got a lot of good training from drill sergeants, a lot of good tips and tricks,” Miller said. “So, I’m just going to use everything I had last summer right now.” 

Cadet Adam Bartnicki from the Georgia Institute of Technology said the grouping and zeroing training helps ensure the sights are accurate before the weapons qualification. 

U.S. Army Cadet Adam Bartnicki with 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, shoots an M4 carbine for grouping and zeroing training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 26, 2022. Cadets shot multiple rounds in five round groupings and made adjustments to their sights as necessary. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

“Today, we’re going to zero rifles to ensure the optics are all lined up correctly and then we’ll go qual (qualify) in a couple of days on the pop up range stations,” Bartnicki said. 

He said he did not have a lot of experience with the weapons before Cadet Summer Training. He said after learning the fundamentals and practicing at the digital range, he felt more confident about his weapons qualification. 

A U.S. Army Cadet with 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, checks his target during the grouping and zeroing training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 26, 2022. Grouping and zeroing helped Cadets make necessary adjustments to their sights before the weapons qualifications. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

Cadets at CST have various aspirations for what they want to do in the Army after they commission.

Bartnicki said he is applying for an educational delay so he can go to law school and join the Judge Advocate General Corps. He said if he gets the delay, he will go to law school and then complete his service time as an active-duty JAG. 

Miller said he wants to branch with the military police.  

“I’m really hoping to go military police,” Miller said. “I really like the structure, plus my dad was a cop so I know a lot of information about how to be an officer.” 

For many Cadets, the opportunity to meet people and learn to work together as a team is a very important part of the CST experience. 

Miller said he has enjoyed meeting people during the training. 

“We’re all here for the same reason,” Miller said. “It’s all about like, get together and come together as a unit even though we’re only here for 30, like 35 days.” 

Miller said teamwork is very important as well. 

“You want to get close with everybody in your platoon,” Miller said. “You don’t have to get close to them on a personal level, just make sure that you know them, know who they are, know how they feel.” 

Miller said teamwork will be important when they go out into the field during the later part of their summer training. 

“We all want to be one cohesive, tight unit so that we can get the mission done as fast as possible,” Miller said. “So, you definitely want to be tight and friendly and good with everybody in your platoon.” 

Bartnicki also said he likes the opportunity to meet new people at CST. 

“It’s been nice to see 40 different people from 40 different places come together and slowly get more and more efficient working as a team,” Bartnicki said. 

Bartnicki said teamwork is very important especially since the Cadet leadership gets switched every day. 

“If the other Cadets in your platoon are not helping out, it’s going to reflect poorly on your leadership evaluations,” Bartnicki said. “So, everyone kind of agrees to help each other out because we all want to do well.”  

For CST, confidence is often very important. The training is designed to help give the Cadets confidence in themselves. 

Bartnicki said his advice to anyone coming to CST would be to have confidence in what they do. 

“You’re going to mess up,” Bartnicki said. “Nobody goes through CST without making mistakes, but if you make mistakes with confidence, and recognize that you made a mistake and fix them, people will respect you for that.” 

Miller said having confidence is crucial and how you treat others is also an important part of CST. 

“I know you’re going to be an officer but treat others how you would want to be treated when you’re in positions of leadership,” Miller said. “Just having that confidence and being ready to learn and being ready to complete the mission though it may fail the first couple of times, just have that confidence to go on.” 

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.