FORT KNOX, Kentucky- Cadets from 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp participate in the M4 Qualification Course at the George Blair Range on Fort Knox, June 22, 2024. The M4 Qualification is meant to test the Cadets ability to shoot targets effectively in various positions using a rifle. Cadets must hit 23 out of 40 in order to qualify.

Cadet Ryan DuVall, from Montana State University, said he prepared for the qualification by practicing mental reps and keeping his breathing under control, focusing on proper trigger squeeze and being patient with his abilities.

“I think this is very important because it teaches us the fundamentals of what a soldier is… and one of those things is being able to shoot and so we have to be able to hold it as the standard. And that’s why we’re practicing today and getting in the habit of learning to do it and it’s awesome to get to do this” DuVall said.

DuVall explained why he wanted to join ROTC, because he was inspired by his father’s work in the military, he was a colonel working for the Chaplain Corps.

“ He was an officer in the army and I kind of got inspired by that and it planted a seed in my head and I continued with it and the more I was in it, the more I started to really enjoy it. I found a really big purpose in being a leader and I love being able to lead and help others and make a difference in other’s lives.”

DuVall would go on to say he is undecided on his future part in the army, but says he is thinking about becoming a Military Intelligence Officer or navigating towards aviation work.

Cadet Charish Burch, from the University of San Francisco, realized the importance of these training sessions as it is vital for future leaders to teach the same fundamentals to future cadets.

“The training is really important because this is ROTC and we will become officers. As officers we will lead a platoon so you need to become an expert first before you start teaching others. “This out here teaches us not to be experts, but it makes it at least decent enough to train other people and show off our skills that we’ve been practicing for over three years,” Burch said.

Burch joined ROTC, because she wanted to secure a better future for herself, wanting to lead others by supporting her platoons in their abilities, character and discipline. After ROTC her goal is to join law school, a dream she always wanted as she is a fan of crime shows.

“I want to go to law school because I watch a lot of crime stuff. I was really into CSI Miami law and order as a child, ” Burch said. “Being able to sit in a lot of courtrooms I’ve been really interested in all that stuff, mainly family court and veterans court. They’re very interesting laws, and getting to go into a lifestyle where I’m able to help other people has been a passion of mine since junior high” Burch said.

4th Regiment Cadets, went through the rounds of heat during their training, and it is vitally important that cadets stay hydrated, DuVall would mention.

“Make sure you’re staying hydrated. It is super hot out there especially in the middle of the day like right now it is really warm. So staying hydrated is huge. Make sure you do the ice baths for your arms as well.” said DuVall. “When you’re up there, you’re gonna be sweating a lot and the sweat could get in your eyes, just take a deep breath … calm down. Remember your trigger, take your breaths and everything should work out just fine.”
About the Author: Elizabeth Peterson