Augusta civilians in Army boots
September 19, 2008
Another group of Augusta citizens now know what it's like to be a Soldier.
Company C, 67th Signal Battalion hosted the Augusta in Army Boots program on Sept. 9 and 10.
This Army program brings to Fort Gordon civilians from the Central Savannah River Area to experience a couple of days with military sponsors on post.
Civilians are put into a pair of boots, and taught Soldier skills with the opportunity to be an American Soldier for 36 straight hours.
Participants learn how to safely march, hold and fire weapons, move tactically through the woods, and night land navigate.
The day for this group of six participants started early at Dining Facility 13 where they ate breakfast and received a safety briefing. Col. John Baker, 35th Signal Brigade commander welcomed the group by giving a brief history on how the U.S. Army has been so successful and why it is important to understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Soldier.
Following breakfast and the morning briefings, gear was issued to the new Soldiers. Donning the uniform, boots, body armor, load-bearing equipment, and kevlar, the group got their first glimpse of what it is like to be a Soldier.
After packing up the overnight gear, everyone was rotated through three classes on combat lifesaving. Sgt. Jesse Nevling, Company A, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center taught a class on taking blood and intravenous therapy.
Spc. Susan Wolschlager, Company B, DDEAMC taught a class on wounds to the chest. Tom Fryman, DDEAMC hospital education showed the group how to dress wounds on the battlefield and how to properly apply a tourniquet.
After the classes on first aid, Capt. Stephen Joosten HHC, 35th Signal Brigade conducted a quick demonstration on Modern Army Combatives. The demonstration proved that combatives is a crucial element of Army training as it could save lives in close quarters situations.
The participants were shown how to correctly apply chokes which are the most affective way of disabling an enemy in hand-to-hand combat. They were shown the rear naked choke and given the opportunity to apply these moves on one another.
After that, the group headed to the EST 2000 to fire simulated weapons. The participants were given the chance to zero and then qualify on the M16 assault rifle.
Lunch that day was Meals Ready to Eat in true Soldier fashion, giving them the opportunity to eat beef stew, BBQ rib and the infamous cheese omelet. After lunch the group had the chance to fire more of the heavier simulations available such as the .50 caliber machine gun and the AT4 rocket launcher.
The final stop for the members of the Augusta in Army Boots program was Forward Operating Base Regimental Noncommissioned Officer Academy. Here they were given classes on improvised explosive devisces, defense advanced GPS receiver, and cultural awareness.
The group's main mission before turning in was to navigate to a known small arms depot, search all buildings, and gather all available information. After the mission was complete, the team headed back to base camp and turned in for the night.
The graduation ceremony took place at Bicentennial Chapel on Sept. 10. Col. Jack Bryant, Fort Gordon chief of staff and Baker presented awards and inducted the six honorary second lieutenants into the Signal Regiment.
"It is because of the great men and women of our Armed Forces that we the American people enjoy our freedoms. We can put our children on a school bus without fear. We can go to the grocery store and pick the foods we want to eat. We can worship at the church of choice.
"It is because of these fine men and women that we can take our sons and daughters to the lake and drop a hook. These are just a few of the freedoms we enjoy, there are many others. Your mission now is to go out and spread the word about how important these Soldiers are to the future of this great country." said Bryant.