Last Updated: June 13th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, KY. – Cadets from 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp conducted a 6 – Mile Ruck March into an intense Stress Shooting training exercise on Fort Knox, Kentucky, June 13, 2024. This training exercise is used to test a Cadet’s capabilities in resilience, leadership and physical endurance.

The challenges faced through the ruck and stress shooting prepare each Cadet for the future demands required by the U.S. Army.

In the Army, a ruck is a form of walking transportation used by Soldiers to carry essentials needed during combat and missions. Cadets wake up in the early hours of the morning with prepped 35lb sacks to carry on their backs, ready to march 6 miles in 2 hours. A ruck is more than just a test for physical endurance, it is used to test a Soldier’s mental toughness and determination.

From many steep hills to extreme weather conditions, Cadets must dig deep to motivate themselves and others to face the many difficulties while rucking on Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Cadet Matthew Dawson, a Green to Gold Soldier from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University emphasizes the comradery needed to get through an exercise as challenging as a ruck. “It was just challenging because I also had to push myself at the same time while also making sure I’m not leaving my battle behind, make sure we finish together.”

Developing others is a core leader competency used by leaders in the Army to guide and broaden a Soldier’s skills set.  “When you become an Army Officer, you have to take care of your people,” said Dawson, “I already have that prior experience and knowledge. It’s easy to pass that down to my peers who may not have any of that knowledge right now.”

When the ruck is completed, with high heart rates and sweaty uniforms, Cadet’s must maintain steady control to engage targets with 40 rounds of ammo from their M4 Carbines. This type of stressful situation is used to simulate and prepare the Cadet’s for moments they may face in combat.

Once a Cadet, now a Cadre member, 2nd Lt. Mark Harrington from Austin Peay State University shines light on the importance of creating a positive environment in trainings as demanding as a ruck into stress shooting. “In order to build as one, having that positive environment does help,” said Harrington, “It does create better relations and helps in the field when you’re all as one working as one.”

Through pain and exhaustion, Cadets emerge from this exercise with the gain of interpersonal skills and resilience. Their experiences in Advanced Camp instill accomplishment and prepare them for times they may face in their Army career as an Officer.

Here is the link to the photos from this training exercise: https://www.flickr.com/photos/armyrotc/albums/72177720317482841

About the Author: Jordan Chism
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