HOMESTEAD AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The last thing someone leaning over the edge of a tower wants to hear is people clapping. However, for a high school student rappelling for the first time in his life, the sounds of encouragement coming from his fellow classmates 50 feet below was a boost of courage.
For more than 180 Army and Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from both Homestead High and South Dade High Schools, sliding down a rope was just one of the skills they learned during a two-day mentorship event as part of Special Operations Command South's Military Assistance Program held January 22-23, 2015.
A U.S. Air Force explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) specialist displays examples of improvised explosive devices to high school students on January 22, 2015 during a two-day mentorship event as part of Special Operations Command South's Military Assistance Program on Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla. Participating units included service members from the 482nd Civil Engineer Squadron and EOD flight, the U.S. Coast Guard's Maritime Safety Security Team Miami, and police officers with the Homestead Police Canine (K-9) Unit. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite)
The program, or SOCMAP as it is more commonly known, was started by SOCSOUTH in an ongoing effort to strengthen ties with the residents of Miami-Dade County. The program enables military personnel to work with students and help them develop into productive citizens within their community.
“The program was created in order for service members the opportunity to provide mentorship, the basics of leadership, and attention to detail to maturing [young] adults,” said U.S. Army Master Sgt. John Dominguez, the senior noncommissioned medic at SOCSOUTH. “We try to give the students that spark of success that allows them to build self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment.”
That was exactly the feeling for one South Dade High School sophomore student.
“I was just so proud of myself for doing this,” said Jeanette. “At first, [the tower] looked scary and tall from where we were sitting that I didn't know if I could do it, but it turned out that [rappelling] off the tower was the most exciting part!”
Not only did the students get to overcome their fear of heights during the daylong events, but they were also introduced to how service members train for everyday tasks.
“Our goal was to expose these students to some of the different military jobs active duty service members do on a day-to-day basis,” said retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Reginald Murray, an Army JROTC instructor at South Dade High School.
During the two-day event, cadets got to see a local police dog demonstration, they interacted with members of the base's explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) team and their equipment, they observed an U.S. Air Force maintenance crew work on F-16 Falcon aircrafts, and they even rammed a door open with members of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Participating units during the event included service members from the 482nd Civil Engineer Squadron and EOD flight, the U.S. Coast Guard's Maritime Safety Security Team Miami, and police officers with the Homestead Police Canine (K-9) Unit.
“I hope what the students learn today will help them prepare for life's challenges,” said Murray, who oversees more than 400 students at his JROTC program. “Life skills in leadership, communication, and being able to adapt are important for them at this age and when they graduate. I'm glad the students also got to see how active duty members spend their time to protect our freedom.”
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite
Provided through DVIDS
Comment on this article