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Preparation for CST continuous for range control

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By GREG THOMPSON

As the summer months approach so, also, will cadets for Cadet Summer Training. While CST is truly a year-round process it begins almost as soon as it ends.

After action reviews are held to determine what went well during training and what can be improved upon making Fort Knox stand out among other facilities and installations.

“Training in earnest begins around the first of June annually,” said Rodney Manson, Fort Knox’s range officer.

Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 cadets converge on the post each year.

Fort Knox has 191 training facilities with 61 of those being live-fire ranges. Ranges on the installation vary in size with the smallest ones designed to accommodate pistol firing and rifle zero—basic sight alignment—whereas the largest range is designed to accommodate tank platoon live fire.

“Four Abrams tanks firing 120-milimeter training ammunition and all machine guns,” said Stuart Holder, range operations officer. “Other facilities attempt to cover the gamut of training venues for Army training requirements.”

That would include heavy and light maneuver space, large and small urban facilities, rifle, pistol and demolitions as well.

Because ranges on Fort Knox were originally designed to support the U.S. Army Armor School and tank, they had to be fairly large,” explained Holder.

Preparation is continuous, said Manson, with range control personnel holding multiple planning sessions, walking the terrain and in-progress review meetings.

“The preparation range performs is to ensure CST has an appropriate outdoor classroom to meet the requirements outlined in the Cadet Summer Training POI,” he said.

Such preparation can include constructing mock villages providing authenticity to the cadets’ training exercises.

Prepwork may also include repairing damage from maneuver training performed by other units that remain capable of utilizing the multiple ranges available.

Ensuring existing facilities are repaired and maintained to accommodate the training, Holder
said, is also important for the success of
CST.

Even while the thousands of cadets are in place for training, Fort Knox Range Control has plenty of space available for other units to utilize for their own exercises.

“The current training strategy that CST uses only requires small arms ranges and maneuver training areas,” Manson said. “There is limited maneuver space for other units to use, but the large caliber ranges are available and are scheduled for use by others.”

The size of the impact area, when compared to the relatively small requirements of other weapon systems, said Holder, makes Fort Knox a unique place where military units from all branches of the armed forces can accomplish their very diverse training requirements in one centrally located area of the country. n