Trainers from Alpha Company, 3-414th Infantry Regiment (CST) also known as “Young Guns” were given a unique opportunity to support the Military College of South Carolina, commonly known as the Citadel.
Ordinarily, these trainers performed Warrior Tasks training to Cadets at Fort Knox, Ky., during their Cadet Summer Training (CST), but 2020 has been less than ordinary. Instead of rotating teams of trainers to CST during the summer months, United States Army Cadet Command (USACC) requested trainers for Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (SROTC) Field Training Exercises (FTXs), weapons qualification ranges and other SROTC training opportunities throughout the school year. By mobilizing these teams to various areas throughout the country, it ensured SROTC Cadets scheduled to commission in May 2021 were properly evaluated and qualified in their required skills.
The Citadel’s Palmetto Battalion executed Operation Duncan Rage from 08-11 Oct 2020 in Fort Jackson, SC, in order to certify and train Cadets on necessary range and land navigation skills. To accomplish this mission, the Citadel requested weapons trainers to support an M4 qualification range. Alpha Company, 3-414th Infantry Regiment (CST) provided 14 trainers to ensure the cadets zeroed and qualified on their individual weapons.
Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Peterman, NCOIC, led a group of Soldiers, possessing combat arms and combat service support experience. All 14 members of the Young Guns team were from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and performed similar tasks throughout their military careers while on active duty, during CST rotations, or at home station with their Army Reserve units. Despite CST cancelation amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, the team of Young Guns were excited to perform Cadet training once again, even in this non-traditional format.
The range day began with the team of 14 Young Guns alongside 14 senior Cadets, in the prone firing position as they waited for the sun to rise. By 0700, the range was operational, with the first round of zeroing underway.
By the end of the mission, the Young Guns ensured 66 senior Cadets zeroed and qualified with their weapons, as well as zeroing 160 junior Cadets prior to performing a qualification attempt. These third year Cadets will perform their weapons qualification range during their CST rotation at Fort Knox, in the summer of 2021.
The Citadel cadre, who performed the logistics and planning for the range, were very appreciative of our team, as they would not have been able to qualify the senior Cadets or train the juniors otherwise. In recognition of excellence, Col. John Cyrulik and Sgt. Maj. Willie Murphy presented their Army ROTC coin of excellence to our Soldiers.