FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET), 1st Regiment, Bravo Company receives peer mentorship in map reading while Alpha Company applies the same skills during terrain association.
Cdt. Christopher Kegley, a junior from the Citadel, teaches Cadets map reading to further their and his own understanding.
“For most of them it’s their first terrain analysis training so it’s easier to have a Cadet who’s more relatable helping them … Also by teaching them, I reinforce my own knowledge; I feel more prepared to lead and give orders,” Kegley said.
In the class, they learn about map reading, land navigation and terrain association, which they will apply the next day. They also learn how to plot points, use a compass and a map.
“Through practice, we want to teach them to be confident in their ability, since map reading is a perishable skill,” Drill Sgt. Mark Parks explains.
Meanwhile, Cadets on Tobacco Leaf Lake refresh their terrain analysis skills with a class on contour lines (which distinguish elevation on a map) and then embark on a two-mile trek through the surrounding land, stopping along the way to point out significant features.
Capt. David Vance, one of the instructors, explains the importance of land navigation and terrain association.
“Land navigation is crucial for them. They need to understand a map … because when they start conducting troop leader procedures, the Army’s mission planning process, terrain is a very important piece of that … If they see terrain as lines on a map and not trees and hills, it’s going to be very hard for them to plan and execute any kind of operation.”
Walking the Cadets through the process is helping reassure nervous Cadets.
“Actually applying the map to nature, that’s one thing I’m kind of nervous about. Just identifying land features on a map and applying it to nature,” said Cdt. Connor Grant, Hampden – Sydney College, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, “the sergeant and the captain have helped me with applying the skills I’ve learned. I know they’ll be right by my side and I can rely on them if I have questions.”
The Cadets will be expected to endure a larger, more difficult course Tuesday and Thursday, during which they will practice night navigation. These courses will prepare them to one day be in Cdt. Kegley’s position; exemplifying leadership to the future of the Army.