Future Soldier tries on body armor for first time
Future Soldier Kanitra Johnson, a sophomore at Wesleyan College, tries on Maj. Fidel Perez\'s body armor at an annual U.S. Army Reserve Command training event with the 1-347th Combat Service Support Battalion at Fort Gillem, Ga., June 17.

FORT GILLEM, Ga. - A group of 25 Future Soldiers from the Atlanta area got a rare chance to see Army training prior to shipping off to basic training.

The recruits were hosted by the 1-347th Combat Service Support "Raider" Battalion, 188th Infantry Brigade, 1st Army Division East, Fort Gillem, Ga., on June 17 to observe 1-347th personnel assisting a group from the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) Augmentation Unit from Fort McPherson, Ga. The unit was completing an annual training requirement.

Sgt. 1st Class Charlie Pippins, an Atlanta Recruiting Battalion recruiter, said this experience would be beneficial for the Future Soldiers by giving them an idea of what to expect once they are in the Army.

At the training site, Future Soldiers listened to the safety briefing given by 2nd Lt. Neah Trenh, USARC annual training officer-in-charge, where patience and flexibility were emphasized as characteristics essential to any training evolution. After the briefing, the new recruits were teamed up with different squads from the USARC Augmentation Unit and trailed the squads to observe the movement to contact and react to contact training lanes.

"I am very excited to be here today," said Kanitra Johnson, who is currently a sophomore at Wesleyan College and is scheduled to ship out to basic training in November. "This is my first real experience with any form of Army training. To be able to see the Soldiers going through the lanes and hear the indirect-fire simulators going off in the background has been a real eye-opener for me."

The Future Soldiers saw the USARC groups react to simulated enemy sniper attacks and mortar attacks while on patrol on the training lane.

"This was a great opportunity for the newest members of the Army team to see officers and senior noncommissioned officers completing some of the same training that they will experience in the near future," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Veronica Davis, Opposing Force Assistant OIC, 1-347th CSSB.

Sgt. 1st Class Elliot West, a trainer also from 1-347th CSSB, echoed those thoughts, adding that it also affords them a chance to see training from another perspective and get eyes-on exposure to a portion of the training they will experience as Soldiers.

The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, Ga., the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16