Cadets take aim for the first time ever
By Tanner Cole
After being issued M16 rifles, the Cadets assembled with Army shooting professionals to learn everything they needed to hit the range and start shooting.
Some of them, like Juliana Torres, never held a gun before. Luckily, cadre like Staff Sgt. Spears, of Takoma, Washington, were there for support.
“A lot of them have never even touched this weapon before,” Spears said. “This is all new to them. It’s going to be a real big surprise when they actually fire this weapon because of the actual recoil, the smell of ammonia – because it’s gas operated. It’s an experience, it really is.”
To begin their training, cadre like Spears guided the Cadets through the five fundamentals of shooting.
“There’s steady body position, that’s one,” Spears said. “Second is sight alignment, which is a natural point of aim. Breathing, where your natural respiratory pause is at. Fourth is trigger manipulation. Slowly squeeze, not pull, the trigger. Then the follow-through, where you’re still putting pressure on the rear.”
Torres, of Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, took to the information quickly. Later in her training she would stand at a range and fire real rounds from the weapon she held. Currently it lay strapped around her shoulder without a magazine loaded.
After learning the basics of shooting, the Cadets learned how to position themselves on the field.
“They do point, post and sprawl,” Spears said. “That’s where they point their weapon down range, they post into a crouch, lay their non-firing hand onto the ground and then kick out and sprawl.”
Cadre like infantryman Fernando Pelayo of Blackfoot, Idaho, guided the Cadets on the fundamentals of reloading and aiming. For the first time they actually took aim at targets using their weapons.
“They’re here to learn to safely and quickly reload a weapon and conduct a combat reload while maintaining proper body positioning,” Pelayo said.
He was onsite in order to provide dedicated assistance as they aimed their weapons. They needed to perfect their technique before actually firing. Pelayo supervised a squad at a time and showed each Cadet how to aim, fire and reload individually.
Torres saw the training as just one part of her overall leadership development.
“This was really informative,” Torres said. “I had no clue about anything really, like how to reload, unload. I’m gaining a lot of confidence from this training and from being put into leadership positions.”