Col. Deborah B. Grays

Commander's Corner
Garrison Commander
Fort McPherson & Fort Gillem

John Quincy Adams once said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

The leaders in our military community - officers, NCOs and Civilian employees - will have two opportunities this summer to help young adults who have an interest in the military aspire to great heights.

The students are participants in the LeadAmerica youth leadership conference. LeadAmerica is an educational organization that sponsors academic-based leadership programs for outstanding high school and middle school students.

The organization hosts summer career conferences for the students to learn about a variety of vocational fields, including aviation and aeronautics, forensic science, law and trial advocacy, medicine and national security and counter-intelligence.

I'm honored that high school students enrolled in the "Junior War College: Defense and Military Strategy" career field will once again be traveling to Fort McPherson to witness the knowledge and professionalism of our workforce firsthand.

The students' visit to Fort McPherson is part of the program's commitment to provide students with briefings, lectures and discussions with prominent military leaders, historians and strategists.

Like its military big brother, the Junior War College isn't easy and it isn't free. Hosted by the Military College of Georgia at North Georgia College and State University, students earn up to two college credits for their participation. Each student pays more than $2,000 to enroll in the program. More than a summer camp, these students are interested in learning more about the military. Many are enrolled in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

The Junior War College curriculum is designed to help students develop leadership skills used in the armed forces. A staple of the education is helping the students learn how military leaders plan for, practice and execute complex operations in the field, while gaining an appreciation for the human side of combat at the lowest level from personal experience.

The Junior War College course study includes battlefield and paintball combat simulations; field trips to war memorials, battlefields and Army Ranger training facilities; a case study in significant military campaigns and a leadership reaction course.
The students will visit June 17 and July 1. Approximately 75 students will be participating in each visit.

During each visit, the students and their accompanying leaders will be divided into three groups, called platoons. Each platoon will begin the event at a different Army headquarters - U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command and U.S. Army Central.

At each of these headquarters commands, the students will have the opportunity to learn how that organization works, how it contributes to the Army mission and how it leads its forces. The platoons will simultaneously rotate to another command after a 45-minute presentation.

The LeadAmerica organization has included visits to Fort McPherson in its summer conference curriculum for the past several years. The responsibility for coordinating the logistics of the visits from our military aspect has rotated, much as the students do during their visits.

This year, the garrison is coordinating the events.

The fact that the Military College of Georgia at North Georgia College and State University requests the opportunity to return with its students each year is testament to the quality of the message our leaders provide.

I will have the honor to wrap up the event with a briefing at The Commons at Fort McPherson. One of the benefits of being the final speaker is seeing the excitement in the students as they bask in the glow of spending a day learning about interesting things from individuals who have "been there and done that." I enjoy talking about military leadership with our youths. So many of the tenants of being a good leader can be carried over into any personal and professional road individuals travel, both as young adults and throughout life.

I compliment the students who participate in the LeadAmerica Junior War College program. They seem to have already learned one thing about military leadership - that good leaders work to better themselves every day.

They seek out opportunities to increase their professional knowledge and skills. And they know that it's often the most challenging courses - the ones that are both physically and mentally taxing - that often teach the greatest lessons.

Page last updated Fri June 12th, 2009 at 12:32