Fort Gordon, GA --There's an old saying that goes, "the greatest journey begins with a single step." For ten years running, that has been true for participants of Augusta in Army Boots, a program designed to allow community members to experience a day in the life of a Soldier.
It's an outstanding program," said Alia Naffouj, Fort Gordon's community relations officer who has recently taken over the program. "It really is a great way to reach out to the community and show them what we do."
The latest ten AIAB participants began the activities May 5, with a breakfast with their "battle buddies," the active duty Soldiers who would be participating alongside them. Ahead was 26 hours of training including hand-to-hand-combat, first aid, weapons, and field exercises. But before any of that, they had to get ready.
After breakfast, the participants gathered in Gym 3 on Fort Gordon, where they were assigned their equipment and given their uniforms.
"I've been interested in this program ever since I first heard of it," said Lynthia Owens, the District Director for Congressman John Barrow's office. "For me, it's a one day experience, but for Soldiers this is everyday life. I'm honored to have the opportunity to spend a day in their boots."
The next morning, the participants were honorarily promoted to the rank of 2nd Lt. and then return home with a better understanding of a Soldier's world. But for now, here in the gym, they are preparing: gathering equipment, putting on uniforms, taking that first step to a day and night of adventure and an insight into the mindset of those who serve their country.
Augusta in Army Boots is currently held twice a year. The next event is scheduled for October.