Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Future Soldiers from three states prepare for basic training

U.S. Army Recruiting  Battalion Future Soldiers get a briefing at Victory Tower before watching Soldiers rappel.

 Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Westfall

Story by Leslie Ann Sully

U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Columbia

On April 22, over 250 Future Soldiers and their guests from Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina saw first-hand what Army basic training entails at Fort Jackson, S.C. They attended the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Columbia’s battalion wide Future Soldier Event.
Participants from Augusta, Columbia and Florence companies trained in the morning and those from Asheville, Charleston and Greenville took the afternoon training slots.
The entire formation was together in middle of day to hear Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas McEwen’s Army Story.
McEwen joined the Army right after high school graduation and offered to talk to anyone personally about their fears or apprehensions. “I was a little homesick at the start of basic since it was the first time I had ever left home,” he said. “But the Drill Sergeants are here for you to succeed and if you stay motivated, you will succeed.”
He also told the group that he never intended to stay this long in the Army. “Four years turned into 21 years and I have had the best time and some great assignments,” McEwen said.
A highlight of the day was eating an Army traditional field lunch which was Meals Ready to Eat (MRE). “A large majority of our Future Soldiers said eating the MREs and staying hydrated from the water buffalo was their top sustain,” said Capt. Travis Newton, Charleston Company Commander.
The training portion started at the120th Reception Battalion just like it does for all basic trainees. They received a briefing from Drill Sergeant Head.

Future Soldiers watch Army Soldiers negotiate the rope cross at Victory Tower.

Then, the group watched other Soldiers navigate Victory Tower to include rappelling and rope crossing. Not surprising, many expressed frustration at not being able to negotiate Victory Tower themselves. Leadership wanted to keep everyone safe and healthy but it was encouraging that so many wanted to complete the physically challenging obstacles.

U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Robert Garbarino demonstrates how to use the EST 2000 weapon simulator to improve the marksmanship of the Future Soldiers.
Motivation was high throughout the day and it was noticeable while the Future Soldiers practiced their marksmanship using the EST 2000, an Army weapon simulator. “Many wished they had more time to practice,” Newton said. “But it was apparent how much they enjoyed the hands on aspect.”

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