FORT KNOX, Ky. – Lt. Col. Gary Goodman, Cadre member from the University of Delaware, watches over 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets at the engagement skills training event at Fort Knox, Ky., June 26, 2023. Goodman explained that EST is an important event to hold at the beginning of Advanced Camp because it prepares Cadets for the qualifications test that occurs later on.

Cadets from 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, complete engagement skills training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 26, 2023. During EST, Cadets practice the fundamentals of marksmanship. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

The 5th Regiment’s Cadets all have had prior experience shooting, but during Cadet Summer Training, every Advanced Camp Cadet must go back to the basics of marksmanship. At EST, Cadets learn about proper shooting positions, weapons manipulation, and how to properly reload their weapon.


“Shooting in the Army requires a different skill set,” Goodman said. “We really bring them all the way back down to ground zero, then build them back up so they learn how to shoot the way they need to shoot as Soldiers.”


The level of prior shooting experience varies between each Advanced Camp Cadet in 5th Regiment. Cadet Edward Castillo, a recent graduate from New Mexico Military Institute, said that his prior experience has helped him come into training feeling “pretty confident.”

Castillo explained, “My program did a really good job and a really thorough check to make sure that we were proficient at being able to both zero in and qualify, and also do the exact same EST that we do here at CST.”

Cadets Edward Castillo, a graduate from New Mexico Military Institute, from 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, waits to shoot at a simulated target during engagement skills training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 26, 2023. Castillo’s prior shooting experience has given him more confidence during Advanced Camp. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

Being a less experienced shooter, Cadet Ekwegh Chinson from Augusta University hoped “for good luck” while waiting alongside her fellow Cadets to practice shooting in the simulation room. Since Chinson has not had as many opportunities within her individual Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program to practice her marksmanship skills due to her busy schedule.

“My school does have some weapons training, but because I’m a nursing major, I never have time to go, so this is going to be good for me,” Chinson said.

Even though Chinson may not have as much shooting experience as Castillo, the EST puts them both on the same playing field for CST. Regardless of experience level, every Cadet reviews the same set of skills and practices on the same simulated targets.

Goodmand said that going back to the basics at the beginning of Advanced Camp will “prevent training scars” later on. The more practice the Cadets get in during EST, the more their shooting skills will progress throughout CST.

About the Author: Kate Koennecke
Kate Koennecke
Kate Koennecke is a rising junior at The Ohio State University double-majoring in Political Science and Strategic Communications. This summer, Koennecke will be working as a Public Affairs Intern, covering events throughout Cadet Summer Training this summer as a Photojournalist. Koennecke has had many experiences working in the public sphere, including interning for the Ohio Statehouse for the Ohio Democratic Caucus in the Senate in the fall of 2022. Once this summer comes to an end, Koennecke hopes to take back her knowledge of Public Affairs back to the Buckeye state with her.