Last Updated: June 9th, 2024By Tags: , , ,

FORT KNOX, KY. – Cadets from 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp, conducted a 6 – Mile Foot March into an intense Stress Shooting training exercise on Fort Knox, KY., June 9, 2024. This type of training prepares the Cadets for the realities of combat, ensuring they remain vigilant, focused and resilient in any encounter.

A foot march, also known as a ruck, is a staple training exercise in the Army. Rucking is defined as walking with weight on your back at a certain pace.

In Advanced Camp, the 6 – Mile Ruck is designed to simulate situations where a heavy load must be carried over long distances. Each Cadet begins with an early 3am wake up with little sleep and rucks with a 35lb rucksack full of essential gear, water and ammunition under a time constraint of 90 – 120 minutes.

The terrain on Fort Knox varies from rough gravel paths, muddy trails and steep inclines. This setting prepares the Cadets for conditions that they may face while in the U.S. Army.

Many colleges that offer the Army ROTC program conduct rucks with their battalion to ensure that they are physically fit, mentally disciplined and ready for Advanced Camp or future rucks in their careers as Army Officers.

“Back at our school we do rucks a lot, every Thursday,” said Cadet Kristina Baker from the University of San Fransisco, “There are a lot of hills in San Fransisco, so I was very prepared for this ruck today.”

Once Cadets are sweaty with their heart rates still elevated from the ruck march, they move to a firing range to conduct a stress shooting exercise. Stress shooting exercises are performed to test a Cadet’s ability to perform under pressure and fatigue.

The Cadets, under stress, are required to assemble on line, quickly load their magazines, and fire their M4 Carbines at targets with varying distances from 50-300m. Each shot that is missed resembles a missed shot during combat.

Cadet James Castello, a Green to Gold cadet from University of Texas San Antonio, believes that the purpose of this exercise is to “Fight as we train, train as we fight.” emphasizing that training to performance standard will ensure confidence in engagements

Despite their exhaustion, the Cadet’s attempt to motivate each other, maintain a calm mind, intense focus and steady hands to engage with targets. Going through this simulation prepares Cadets for challenges they may face as an Army Officer.

About the Author: Jordan Chism