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
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
“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
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