Students experience military training, lessons in leadership
Sgt. 1st Class Rachel Harris, 413th Contracting Support Brigade, introduces the high school students to one of several obstacles designed to test their leadership skills and build team camaraderie.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers with the 413th Contracting Support Brigade here teamed with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command to lead and mentor 50 high school student recruits through the installation Leadership Reaction Course May 29.

The Army uses the LRC to assess leadership skills and build team cohesion through a series of obstacles which require individuals to work together to negotiate.

According to the 413th team leaders, Master Sgt. Gregory Dorsey, Sgt. 1st Class Sharon Johnson-Harper, Sgt. 1st Class Rachel Harris and Staff Sgt. Charles Sykes, this cooperative effort not only helped build camaraderie and effectiveness within the unit but also afforded them an opportunity to share with the student recruits how the Army operates and trains its Soldiers.

Realizing that the LRC would be their first introduction to the Army, the combined team of USAREC and 413th noncommissioned officers developed a strategy to ease the students' anxiety. They had already anticipated that the students' emotions would range from "anxiety to excitement and everything in between."

As the students began arriving from four school districts around Oahu, one student from Mililani High School appeared to be intimidated by the team of NCOs and was even overheard expressing her misgivings about joining the Army.

Undeterred, the team divided the students into four groups, presented a safety brief and proceeded to the leadership-building course.

Initially hesitant to talk to the other recruits and the NCOs, the students gradually overcame their anxiety and began negotiating obstacles and working as a team.

"The recruits finally came together," said Dorsey. "Teach, coach, mentor is what we preach as professionals. Standards and discipline are what we look for in our Soldiers. These recruits were eager to learn and immediately showed trust in each other. They all worked together to negotiate the various obstacles using resiliency and the will to succeed. Regardless of the condition and severity of the obstacle, their strong personal attributes helped them prevail over those adverse conditions."

Harris agreed.

"Sometimes when we get up so high in the ranks, we tend to forget where we came from or what got us there," she said. "When asked to help with the Leadership Reaction Course, I didn't even hesitate. As NCOs and leaders, team building is what we do. We train to lead so that they can take our place and lead this great nation.

"It is funny how we can teach them to come together when we don't always want to come together as a team ourselves," Harris added. "In the end, we can all learn something from them."

Johnson-Harper shared her experience working with the future Soldiers.

"They showed maturity, greatness and had all picked MOSs (military occupational skills) that were so enduring," she said. "Most of the group had chosen the medical field. Their reasoning was because they wanted to help others. This just proves that we still have great leaders amongst us."

At the end of the day, a few of the recruits were recognized for their efforts, teamwork and potential.

"It was fun to see and evaluate the future Soldiers," said Sykes. "The same recruit who had questioned if she had made a mistake joining later remarked that the experience was awesome and hoped her future leaders would be just as good."

Col. Martin Zybura, 413th CSB commander, congratulated the recruits on their achievement and commented on how the USAREC, 413th cooperation benefited his Soldiers.

"Conducting training at the Schofield Barracks LRC provided the 413th CSB an incredible opportunity to cement the team bonds and further the professionalism of our military and civilian personnel," he said. "By teaming with the Soldiers and recruits from USAREC, the 413th leveraged its knowledge to build those same bonds and professionalism in future Soldiers who will become the backbone of the U.S. Army."

Page last updated Thu June 27th, 2013 at 15:20