FORT KNOX – Cadets had to navigate their way through hills and valleys covered in thick brush to find the location of the points given to them July 21. Cadets were paired into groups, given coordinates to four certain points, then they had to plot the points and develop a route to each spot.
This was the second day of land navigation training. The first day, Cadets received instructions, became associated with their surroundings and did a terrain walk. The second day they were given points, had to properly plot them and then walk to and find the points.
Capt. Victoria Wallace, land navigation instructor, said she hopes to see Cadets use their knowledge and accomplish this task.
“This is a test of everything that we have taught them over the last couple of days. It’s about accomplishing a mission by working through a process and coming up with a plan. Its about testing their ability to be resilient and think critically,” Wallace said.
Cadets also had to factor in time management while planning a route. They had a time limit of three hours to find three out of four of the points they received. Cadets knew they reached the correct coordinate when they came across an orange and white sign with a letter and number combination.
Cdt. Kevin Ryan, James Madison University, and Cdt. Matthew Wilkinson, Westfield State University, were the first team finished.
“We got lost at one point because a path just kind of disappeared on us,” Ryan said. “But we used the skills the Cadre had taught us and found out where we made our mistake and got back on track.”
Wallace explained that the most challenging part of this training is for the Cadets to trust their gut on making a decision on which direction to go.
“It’s hard sometimes for them to trust themselves. Once we launch them out you can see the Cadet with a map in their hand and see the wheels start spinning and how they really have to trust whether they go left or right,” Wallace explained. “As an officer, this is one of the most challenging pieces – how do you trust that a decision you’re making is the right one?”
Cdt. Elizabeth Joseph, James Madison University, said she recognizes the importance of developing the instinct to trust yourself and being sure on where to go and how to do so adequately.
“I’m branching nurse corps. So for me if there is someone in need of medical attention then it is crucial for me to understand how to get to them as quickly as possible because at that point someone’s life could literally depend on me having these skills we are learning today,” Joseph said.