FORT KNOX, Ky. – 2nd Regiment Cadet Initial Entry Training Cadets were tested, mentally and physically, during hand grenade training followed by an assault course on Christensen Range June 20.
“The hand grenade assault course is difficult for the Cadets because they are working on minimum sleep right now and after this they have land navigation (which is another challenging lane). So they will be using a lot of energy,” said Master Sgt. Reginald Gilliam, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of hand grenade training.
Before attempting the hand grenade assault course, the Cadets are taught how to knock out a bunker, throw a hand grenade at a standing, kneeling, or prone stance and maneuver with weapons using Individual Movement Techniques (IMT).
“IMT are important because we train the way we fight. We keep a low silhouette to create as little a target for our enemies as possible,” said Sgt. Andre Thornton, Louisville, Kentucky, stationed at Ft. Lee, Virginia, “Any mistake could be life threatening and critical to the team, so all the instructors are there to make sure the Cadets do each task correctly.”
After being taught how to prepare a grenade for deployment, the Cadets then practice throwing grenades at their target about five meters away.
“I’m excited to practice with a grenade and eventually throw a live one, but I’m nervous that I won’t get my hand out of the way,” said Cdt. Aaron Sheppard, Brigham Young University-Idaho, from Plant City, Florida.
The hand grenade assault course is a series of about 10 obstacles which require the Cadets to practice the techniques they just learned.
“It might not look that bad, but when you see them as they reach the end; they’re pretty burnt because it’s physically and mentally challenging,” Gilliam said of the course.
One Cadet, Bonnie Kamei of Arkansas State University, finds pulling the pin on a grenade more difficult than she thought.
“I thought it would be a lot easier to be honest. I thought I’d just pull the pin and do it,” Kamei said, “But now I’m ready to do the assault course.”
Because they are taught to train as though on an actual mission, the drill sergeants have to ensure the Cadets are prepared to act, especially once using live ammunition.
“I think they’ve (drill sergeants) prepared us for really tough situations. You can’t freeze up. You always have to act. You can’t do nothing because it could ruin the mission,” Kamei stated.
Despite the seriousness of their training, the Cadets get to have some fun with the hand grenade assault course.
“It gets exciting when we implement a race. We’ll get two of the best teams and they will do the hand grenade assault course while on the clock. Whoever is the winner will get some incentive at the end,” Gilliam said.
Though there are rewards for the good work done by our future army officers, their training does not stop here.