FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY – Cadets from 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp were able to get the feel for shooting a M4 carbine during the Engagement Skills Trainer on Fort Knox, June 26, 2024. This trainer is an indoor, computer-based, multi­­-lane, small arms simulator designed to simulate live weapon training events.

After receiving Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction, the Cadets from 5th Regiment were brought to EST to apply the fundamentals learned and fire weapons before going live. PMI teaches cadets the basics of rifle marksmanship such as the proper firing positions, aiming, breath control and trigger squeeze.

EST allows Cadets to become familiar with their weapons systems and form the muscle memory of the required firing position for the live fire qualification. These positions are composed of prone unsupported, prone supported, kneeling and standing.

These principles assist Cadets in getting a steady aim and accurate shot while being in a safe training environment without the stress of live ammunition.

As an army officer, having the knowledge of the basic fundamentals of marksmanship and fighting positions is important. This knowledge can be used to help subordinates and have the ability to qualify according to the army standards.

“It provides information on what I know my Soldiers have to do for the qualifications,” said Cadet Brianna Rios from Portland State University.

Rios has been in the Oregon National Guard since 2021 and explains her experience with the training and live firing of the weapon.

“There are other challenges you face when shooting live,” said Rios. “For example, the EST simulator doesn’t mimic weapon malfunctions.”

Being able to share hardships as a leader helps in building trust with subordinates. Rios describes her experience as being a lower enlisted Soldier and what made her decide on the process to becoming an army officer.

“Being enlisted before will help me become a better leader,” explains Rios. “I’ve been in that Private’s shoes before, so I think I have more knowledge and a better understanding.

This immersive training experience not only sharpens the Cadets’ technical abilities but also builds confidence and resilience, preparing them to effectively lead and excel in combat situations.  Later, 5th regiment Advanced Camp Cadets will take the knowledge gained from EST and apply it towards the live weapons qualification event.


About the Author: Jordan Chism