Fort Knox, Ky., – Basic Camp 8th Regiment Cadets spent an afternoon learning how to properly handle and move with their weapons at drill & ceremony instruction.
Cadet Joe Solem, student at Central Washington University, native of Ellensburg, Washington, went over the fundamentals of proper weapon handling at drill and ceremony instruction.
“We received our weapons, so we learned how to take them apart and put them together, so that was really interesting,” said Solem. “Some people have never touched a weapon before. The Army has a quote: “leadership through excellence” so drill and ceremony is definitely practicing excellence. We’re learning how to march with our weapons, and how to hold them at parade rest.”
Drill and ceremony is an important part of Cadet Summer Training for Basic Camp.
“It’s important to learn for the Army, because if you are assigned to a unit some day you might have to march drill and ceremony. Also, I think it goes farther than that, I think it teaches you life values that everything that everything you do should be done with excellence, and this is just getting the small things right before you do the big things,” said Solem.
Cadet Alexander Ciccarello, student at John Caroll University, native Middleburg Heights, Ohio, respects the traditional elements of drill and ceremony, and the lesson in discipline that comes with it.
“It’s traditional for the Army and it also teaches us how to handle our rifles before we shoot them,” said Ciccarello. “It helps instill discipline in us before we get into a situation where we must have discipline.”
Drill Sergeants and instructors work step by step with the Cadets making sure everyone is on the same level of knowledge and understanding during drill and ceremony.
“The drill instructors are teaching us in small groups and large groups, we’re helping our peers, and just working as a platoon,” said Ciccarello. “It’s definitely team learning, but it does take some individual skill to match the movements so you can look as a cohesive member of the team.”
Cadet Melia Kadetz, student at Eastern Kentucky University, native of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, says the instruction is an opportunity to brush up on old skills and learn something new.
“We all have to learn it, and either way we all are going to start at the basics. One thing I was told when I came here was: “forget everything you think you know, and learn everything new,” said Kadetz. “So start from scratch basically. It’s not whether you learned it or not, you still have to go through the basics step by step, and if I didn’t already know it, I would know it by now.”
Working as team allows the Cadets to learn from each other, an exercise in team building and communication as well.
“We have our drill sergeants walking around teaching us step by step. The people who do know how to do it help the ones that are truly struggling with everything,” said Kadetz. “Thanks to past experience, I feel like I’m able to help other people who aren’t as caught up and I try to help as much as I can.”
The Basic Camp Cadets will take what they learned at drill and ceremony and apply it to the remainder of CST, in squad movements and field exercises, and in preparation for their graduation ceremony.