FORT KNOX, Kentucky – Hot, sweaty, and tired, Cadets from 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, take on the Hand Grenade Assault Course on Fort Knox, July 03, 2024. This course allows Cadets to use practice hand grenades to engage with targets in simulated combat situations.

After rucking a six-mile course through Agony and Misery hills, and conducting a stress shooting exercise, the Cadets from 5th Regiment march over to the HGAC to prepare for hand grenade qualifications.

The HGAC on Fort Knox has seven different stations. Cadets receive instruction from experienced Soldiers, out of the 2nd-77th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Carson, Co, on the proper throwing positions and safe handling of the grenades. Cadets move through different throwing positions to employ hand grenades against stationary targets.

Sergeant Eduardo Hernandez, from the 2nd-77th, is an instructor at the HGAC and he expresses the importance of the course for future army officers.

“I think its important for Cadets to know the basics,” emphasizes Hernandez. “The reason we stress all these steps is for a reason. When we tell them to ‘strike a pose’, it isn’t so they can just put their arm out, it’s to use their hand as iron sights almost. Where you place your front hand, your back hand will follow.”

As the Cadets position themselves into a throwing position, they run through the following techniques: sweep on the clip, twisting the clip, pulling the pin and “striking a pose”. These steps help Cadets prepare for encounters their platoon may have with grenades in their careers. The targets range from 15-35 meters away from the barriers, making it difficult for Cadets to aim and reach accurately.

Grenades are potent weapons, and their use can significantly impact a mission’s outcome. As a future army officer and leader, having the basic understanding of handling a grenade can benefit them as well as their subordinates during combat.

“Your subordinates will be carrying grenades in tactical environments,” said Cadet Jack Attanasio from Norwich University. “It’s important that an officer has a basic understanding of how to throw a grenade and all the steps it takes to employ a successful grenade.”

While the HGAC is based on individual effort, it also emphasizes the importance of teamwork and communication. Cadets work in groups at each station, coordinating their movements and actions to achieve a common objective. This teamwork fosters a sense of camaraderie and trust, essential qualities to bring to a unit as an army officer.

With hopes of being commissioned as an infantry officer, Attanasio expresses the importance of this course for every Soldier, not just infantry.

“Everything we are doing here at Cadet Summer Training is basic warrior skills,” said Attanasio, “Every Soldier should be a rifleman first.”

About the Author: Jordan Chism