High School Students Experience Soldier Life
by U.S. Army Melissa Buckley
Fort Leonard Wood PAO
January 13, 2024
Nine students from Summersville High School visited Fort Leonard Wood on January 8, 2024 to experience what their future Army careers could be like.
January 8, 2024 - Summersville High School students practice shooting targets on the M4 rifle Engagement Skills Trainer located in Building 729 during their field trip to Fort Leonard Wood.(Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo by Melissa Buckley, Fort Leonard Wood PAO.)
Hosted by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s Mid-Missouri Recruiting Company and the 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, the high school juniors and seniors had the opportunity to tour barracks, eat lunch in an Army Warrior Restaurant, observe training and speak with Soldiers.
“We wanted to show them what life is like going to basic training and advanced individual training and what an Army base has to offer,” said Recruiter Staff Sgt. Katherine Kloczko, who works in Rolla and is assigned to the Mid-Missouri Recruiting Company. “As recruiters we can paint a picture of what an Army installation has to offer, and when we take them on post, they are shocked at how big it is and all the things you can do.”
Their first stop on the tour was to a barracks building, where they received a firsthand look at how Soldiers attending basic combat training live and sleep.
“The barracks are nice. It was neat to watch the Soldiers show us how to make a bed. We had a lot of fun trying to make the beds ourselves. It was comical,” said Kyah Rutledge, a senior at Summersville High School, which is located about 65 miles from Fort Leonard Wood.
Her time at the barracks made an impression on her, she said, because her dad, who retired from the Air Force, showed her how to make her bed the military way. “(My dad) always says, ‘How can you make a difference in the world if you can’t even make your bed.’ And I completely agree,” she said.
The highlight of the day for Summersville High School senior, Austin Smith, was eating lunch at the Army Warrior Restaurant.
“It was delicious. The unlimited salad options on the salad bar were amazing. They had all my favorite things,” Smith said.
While on post the students watched Soldiers-in-training group and zero their M4 carbine rifles, a shooting fundamental allowing Soldiers to get familiar with their weapons and calibrate their sites.
Then, the students made their way to Building 729, where they got to put their own marksmanship skills to the test using an Engagement Skills Trainer, or simulator.
“Shooting the M4 was my other favorite thing. It is like a big video game. It was awesome, but it was harder than I thought it was going to be,” Smith said.
January 8, 2024 - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Garrison Porquez, a drill sergeant for 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, teaches Summersville High School students, Austin Smith and Kyah Rutledge, how to use the M4 rifle Engagement Skills Trainer during their field trip to Fort Leonard Wood (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo by Melissa Buckley, Fort Leonard Wood PAO.)
Kloczko said the simulator was, “a big win with the students, it is super engaging and they absolutely loved it.”
With graduation just a few months away, Smith said he has been thinking a lot about his future.
“I have been interested and looking into officer candidate school. I don’t know for sure what I want to do,” Smith said.
Spending the day on Fort Leonard Wood helped Smith envision a new way to reach his aspirations of becoming an officer.
“Living like this would be awesome. Being here today has opened my mind to the idea of enlisting, then go to college while I serve. I still want to go to college, but I also want to travel and study abroad. This way I could do both,” Smith said.
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