Fort Knox, KyDuring Cadet Summer Training, one crucial aspect of a Cadet’s training is their ability to properly handle the M4 Carbine. A constant expectation for all in the service is weapon qualifications. A Soldier’s ability to properly handle their weapon is essential to their service. Engagement Skills Training (EST) teaches Cadets the skills they need to succeed in that mastery. 

Cadets with the 3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp, gathered for EST, June 16, 2024, to refine their weapon skills in a controlled environment. They filed into the building, began to organize into their respective squads, and awaited instruction from the Cadre.

Cadet Joshua Addis, from Virginia Military Institute, highlighted the importance of EST’s controlled environment. 

“This gives us a comfortable handle on maneuvering the guns and magazines,” said Addis. “Cadets who may not have experience shooting can be scared by the recoil the first time they live fire.”

EST is valuable to the Army’s training regimen, reducing range and live fire costs while providing more trigger time. The exercise ensures the utmost security and comfort for Cadets, instilling a sense of reassurance and security in their equipment. After practicing on the main floor, Cadet’s transition to digital ranges with real-time screens displaying targets, terrain, and weapon effects. The techniques they learn here will help them when they eventually transition from the air conditioning to the live fire ranges. 

Cadet Azh Bridges, a student at Niagara University, emphasized learning the significance of consistency through EST and embracing failure as part of the learning process. Upon graduation, Bridges plans to become a 2nd Lt. Inspired by her uncle, an ROTC member at Canisius College, she aims to develop her leadership skills. 

“I want to follow in his steps and gain firsthand experience,” Bridges said. 

With a passion for photography and videography, Bridges also expressed interest in commissioning as a public affairs officer. 

“I want to make an impact in any way I can,” she said. “I believe the ROTC program will put me in a position to do so in numerous ways.”

As Cadets continue to develop their weapon skills, the controlled environment of EST breeds consistency and security, preparing them for future live fire training and qualifications.

About the Author: Andrew Berger
Andrew Berger is a senior at Ball State University majoring in Photojournalism. He is the Photo Editor of the Ball State Daily News and a member of the NPPA.