Fort Knox, Kentucky—Despite the downpour and the rumbling thunder overhead, Cadets with 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed their initial preliminary marksmanship training as part of Cadet Summer Training, July 5, 2024.

Regardless of their prior knowledge, every Cadet must undergo this training to ensure they can safely and effectively handle their weapons. Preliminary marksmanship instruction is just one of three weapons training components that Cadets need to complete. They will spend several days familiarizing themselves with PMI, the engagement skills trainer, and the group and zero range before qualifying with their M4-Carbine. 

For some Cadets, this might be their first time handling a weapon, while others arrived at camp with prior experience that has been beneficial in honing their weapon skills. Cadet John Ross, The Citadel, Sc., said he grew up hunting, which has helped him learn the basics of breath control and sight picture. Even with this experience, however, Ross understands there is more he still has to learn to be ready for qualifications. 

Ross expressed that he has always felt a calling to join the military, a feeling that was further strengthened by a mentor/friend who went to the same university as he did. This mentor’s influence has been a guide in Ross’s journey. 

“I know a lot of guys in the military, and I grew up with them,” said Ross, “My friend went aviation and now flies helicopters. I want to take that same path.” 

Coming from a military college, Ross brings experience to the table. However, he is still genuinely willing to learn from individuals who may have a different level of knowledge than him. Ross says this humble approach, coupled with a positive, forward-thinking attitude, is something Cadets should focus on. 

“Don’t come out here thinking you know everything, because you never do,” said Ross, “Staying humble has brought me constant growth and development in my leadership skills.”

This commitment to humility resonates with Cadet Went from Florida International University, who came away from PMI appreciative and knowledgeable about all he learned from Cadre. Cadets will head to the range in a few days to qualify and Went believes the lessons learned at PMI will prepare him for the challenge. 

“We’re getting the fundamentals down here, that’s the most important part,” said Went, “Especially for Cadets who don’t have much hands-on experience, like myself.” 

Went stated that he joined ROTC in order to bring out the leader in himself. Inspired by his older brother’s technical work in the medical field, Went plans to branch into the Cyber Corps after graduation. He mentioned that he has always been actively involved, whether in his community in the USA or his hometown in Jamaica. Went moved to the States in 2010 and said the cultural differences between the USA and Jamaica exist, yet he feels that they share a unifying moral.

“I would say the US and Jamaica share an idea of having one love for all, regardless of one’s background or culture,” said Went, “This is why I enjoy being in the army: everyone here, regardless of school or state, is equal under one flag and one goal.”

Went regards the most crucial lesson from his time at CST as the significance of building strong connections with others. He considers this essential for a team’s development and success. Both Cadet Ross and Cadet Went emphasized the importance of remaining open to learning from those with different levels of experience and backgrounds through humility. 

“As we prepare to qualify, our shared commitment to our growth is what will shape our leadership skills,” said Went. 

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.