FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets of 3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp, conduct the battle, march, and shoot event after the marksmanship qualification to test if Cadets are ready to operate in a tactical environment at Fort Knox, Ky., June 19, 2023. Cadets qualified with the M4 rifle the day prior and were tasked this morning to ruck four miles and immediately following, shoot at a target 25 meters away with 40 total rounds.

A Cadet from 3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp, shoots downrange during the battle, march, and shoot exercise at Fort Knox, Ky., June 19, 2023. Cadets are required to shoot 40 rounds at these targets after a four-mile ruck. | Photo by Keaton Silver, University of Mississippi, CST Public Affairs Office

The conditions this morning included a heavy downpour of rain where Cadets labored in a much tougher environment than usual. The goal of today was to see if Cadets can accurately shoot after exerting energy during a hilly four-mile ruck.

“The rain made today more motivating because it’s more difficult,” said Cadet Luke Bonenberger, Syracuse University. “It’s been a good way to finish off our marksmanship training.”

BMS is meant to simulate real life combat as the event raises your heartrate with physical exercise, and Cadets have no time to prepare before they start shooting. Due to unusual weather, this event only became more difficult.

“I couldn’t see my CCO [close combat optic] red dot and had to adapt and find a way to hit those targets without it,” Bonenberger said. “We have to knock them down regardless of the environment.”

Cadets, drenched in water and exhausted after the ruck, were given no sympathy during the challenge. However, the only way to fail battle, march, and shoot is by not completing the ruck or refusing to shoot bullets downrange.

A Cadet from 3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp, examines his target at the battle, march, and shoot exercise at Fort Knox, Ky., June 19, 2023. Cadets are not graded on this event as marksmanship qualification was the day prior. | Photo by Keaton Silver, University of Mississippi, CST Public Affairs Office

BMS introduces Cadets to the effort they are expected to exert during the field training exercises later during Advanced Camp. At the field training exercises, Cadets will be rucking every day and be required to accurately aim and shoot blanks at simulated enemies.

The rain during BMS helped Cadets with the realization they will be working additionally hard in the field but have bonded over the harsh weather conditions.

“We embraced the suck,” said Cadet Harrison Tucker, Vanderbilt University. “We were all together as a platoon, and we really enjoyed it.”

Though Cadets are tasked with difficult challenges during the summer, platoon chemistry grows over time, and eventually, everything becomes easier with the support of each other.

The battle, march, and shoot exercise brings an idea to the Cadets to be prepared for what it might be like in a tactical situation. After passing today, Cadets are completely done with their marksmanship training and get to move on to some more challenging events.

About the Author: Keaton Silver
Keaton Silver
Keaton Silver is a student at The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) majoring in Integrated Marketing & Communications in the school of Journalism and New Media. Silver is originally from San Clemente, California, but now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Silver also happens to be an Army ROTC cadet at Ole Miss., and plans to focus on photojournalism before attending Advanced Camp the second half of the summer.