FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed the Battle March and Shoot at Fort Knox, Ky., July 21, 2023.

Cadet Rachel Oliva from the University of Pittsburgh, Ryan Fortier from the University Washington, Sydney Gregg from the University of Tennessee, Adam Hoffman from Virginia Military Institute, 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, complete the Battle March and Shoot at Fort Knox Ky., June 21, 2023. Cadets marched 4 miles to the range where they practiced shooting their weapons while under stress. | Photo by Thaliya Martinez, Olivet Nazarene University, CST Public Affairs Office

The BMS consisted of a four-mile tactical road march to the Schroeder Range. When Cadets arrived, they fired two rounds at ten targets to zero at different differences. 

The purpose of the BMS is to train Cadets on how to shoot accurately while under stress and maintaining their fundamentals of shooting. 

Cadet Rachel Oliva from University of Pittsburgh, talked about her experience during the BMS while having her battle buddies by her side. 

“Once we stepped off [for the four-mile road march], I realized it was gonna be a lot more challenging, but thankfully I had my battle buddies around me who had kept the motivation high and in the right mindset. I was able to make it through without any problems,”  Oliva said.

When Cadets arrived at the range after their four-mile road march, they dropped their 34-40 pound rucks, and headed straight to their firing lane. Oliva mentioned what she does to help her stay relaxed.

“Keeping my mind as clear as possible. Not having any expectations about what I think I should be doing and just knowing that I had to go out there, aim and shoot, and that’s all they have to do,” Oliva said. 

There is still one more regiment on the ground and that’s the 10th regiment. Oliva gave advice to Cadets who have yet to experience the BMS. 

“The main thing is to hydrate the day before and make sure you’re getting all your food,” Oliva said. “Don’t get discouraged because we’re gonna be sweating, you’re gonna be hot, you’re gonna be in some pain, and uncomfortable, but remember that it doesn’t last forever.”

Cadet Sydney Gregg from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was in Oliva’s platoon and talked about her experience at the BMS. 

“I love rucking. “At my university [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps’ Program], we do rucks every Friday,” Gregg said. “This is one of the things that I feel like I’m really good at.”

While shooting on the firing lane, Cadets are right next to their battle buddy and can see what they are doing from their peripheral vision. Gregg mentioned what she does to help her stay focused on herself while shooting.

“I try to focus on the target that I’m aiming at, and I try not to look at any other ones because that’ll throw me off. I don’t listen to what other people are doing and I try to stay in my own lane,” Gregg said.

Gregg gave instructions for 10th regiments Cadets. 

“Take deep breaths, because you will be out of breath from the ruck,” Gregg said. “Collect yourself and prepare yourself to shoot instead of worrying.”

Ryan Fortier from University Washington, was in Oliva, and Greggs platoon and talked about his experience during the BMS in a unique way. 

“I was excited for this event. This was our last opportunity to shoot here at Cadet Summer Training,” Fortier said. “It’s just about making the most of it, getting a little ruck in to start the day, and then finishing strong [while] shooting targets.”

Cadets’ heart beat is up from the four mile road march, they are sweating from being out in the sun. Fortier mentioned what he does to help him stay relaxed.

“My mom always tells me to do my best every single day. Whatever that is on that given day, she says it’s gonna be good enough,” Fortier said. “That’s something I try to keep in the back of my mind.” 

Fortier gave suggestions for 10th regiment Cadets. 

“While you’re here, soak it in. The cadre here and the cadets here are great instructors who can give you a lot of little tips,” Fortier said.

Adam Hoffman from Virginia Military Institute, who was in Oliva, Gregg, and Frontier platoon, said that he enjoyed the BMS and provided encouragement for 10th regiments Cadets. 

“Mamma didn’t raise you to stay a baby, just gotta keep going,” Hoffman said.

About the Author: Thaliya Martinez
Thaliya Martinez
Thaliya Martinez is from Evanston, Illinois and attends Olivet Nazarene University. She majors in Multimedia Communications with a concentration in Film Studies along with a minor in Military Science and Military Affairs. Her passion for photography and videography started when she was young. Her passion for photography and videography grew stronger from capturing her soccer, cross country, and track and field team in high school. Also, working as a professional sports videographer and photojournalist for MileSplit Illinois. In college, she has some experience of being a Cadet Public Affairs Officer from her Rolling Thunder Battalion Army ROTC program. Her goal for the internship is to let God lead the way in her showing the world the 100% that the Cadets put in every day and that there’s more behind these Cadets then just them in uniform. Thaliya wants to strengthen her night photography, audio skills, and writing skills while interning for the Army ROTC Public Affairs CST team at Fort Knox.