On Thursday, February 11, 2021 and Saturday, February 13, 2021, Charlie Company of Titan Battalion conducted M4 rifle training. They first trained at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, utilizing the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST). The EST program served as a live weapon simulation, where cadets practiced weapon safety and familiarization, zeroed their weapons, and attempted the new M4 qualification course. In the Army, the EST is used as a precursor event to a live ammunition M4 range, and it assists soldiers in improving their marksmanship skills. Qualifying on an M4 weapon system is a basic soldiering skill that cadets practice before they are thrown into the U.S. Army as Second Lieutenants and are expected to plan these sorts of training events for their soldiers.

Cadet Chelsea Bozarth, an MSII who has been a part of the program for almost two years, qualified her first time during the EST. With a score of 24 out of 40, she qualified as a “marksman” on the course.

According to cadet Bozarth, the most difficult part of the training was “the quick transition because, if you don’t reload fast enough, then you’re missing your targets.” During the training, she learned how to move through the four different firing positions; prone unsupported, prone supported, kneeling supported, and standing.

After the initial training on Thursday, cadets trained on Saturday at the range in Fort Irwin, California. Cadets fired live rounds to zero their weapons, followed by the M4 rifle qualification course.

Cadets Olson, Valadez, and Melendrez all qualified at the range, with cadet Olson scoring the highest out of his firing order. After zeroing his weapon, he scored 31 out of 40 targets, qualifying as a “sharpshooter.” In order to be considered a “sharpshooter,” one must hit anywhere from 30 to 35 targets. Here, cadet Olson is seen zeroing his weapon before qualifying on the course.

Cadets enjoyed their time out on the range and will continue to hone their skills at various events, practicing weapon safety and the M4 qualification course. UCI Army ROTC tries to plan and resource weapons training events at least twice a year to allow cadets to continue to improve their marksmanship skills before going out to Cadet Summer Training (CST) at Fort Knox, KY during the summer between their junior and senior years. Every cadet will continue to practice throughout the rest of the year with the aim to shoot as “experts,” hitting at least 36 out of 40 targets.