Dentsville Recruiting Station hosts a Future Soldier Orientation at Fort Jackson
July 14, 2011
More than 20 young men and women from the Columbia area visited Fort Jackson July 7 for a mock Basic Training exercise.
U.S. Army Recruiters from the Dentsville Recruiting Station in Columbia chaperoned the Future Soldiers in an effort to orientate them to and dispel some to the myths about Basic Training.
Future Soldier Manager, Sgt. Kyle Busby explained the importance of this particular Future Soldier orientation: “The purpose of this event was for the Future Soldiers to face their fears and adversities about Basic Training.”
“Two weeks ago, I had the Future Soldiers fill out a survey about Basic Training - what their biggest fears were and what they were most excited about,” Busby said. “The biggest fears across the board were the gas chamber, Victory Tower, and the Confidence Obstacle Course.”
The orientation began with a briefing about Army benefits such as the GI Bill, which provides educational benefits to veterans and their family members; Service members Opportunity Colleges Army Degrees (SOCAD) Agreement, which governs a network of institutions selected by the military Services to deliver specific associate and bachelor’s degree programs to service members and their families; as well as other financial and health benefits.
At the Confidence Obstacle Course, they experienced some of the challenges they would have to complete in an actual Basic Training environment.
“Orientation is going great because it’s so hands-on,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Simpson, a Recruiter at the Dentsville Recruiting Station. “A lot of the (Future) Soldiers thought we were exaggerating about Basic Training, especially with the obstacle course. They are getting to see that we weren’t exaggerating; this is what will be expected of them. They see that they have to work together to make it in Basic Training.”
Another portion of the orientation focused on the importance of chemical warfare. The team got to experience the gas chamber firsthand, where they learned the usage of the gas mask, while getting a lesson in confidence building and trusting your equipment in an emergency situation.
Also included in training was a visit to a replicated Forward Operating Base (FOB) much like the sites in Iraq. Here the group saw what it was like to live and operate in a wartime environment " from dining to sleeping to hygiene.
The next stop, Victory Tower, was listed as one of the most feared parts of Basic for the Future Soldiers. It is an obstacle used to reinforce the skills and confidence of the individual Soldier.
“I think what I’m worried about most is the obstacle course,” said Julianne Sevier, a 19-year-old Future Soldier. “I think I’ll be okay with the tower because you can work with a team, but I’m worried about the rope climb.”
After lunch at the Basic Training dining facility, the Future Soldiers toured the barracks, where they got the 4/11 on living conditions during Basic Training.
“I’ve learned a lot about things I didn’t know about, like FOB,” Sevier said. “My favorite part was definitely the gas chamber. I’m excited(she said about shipping out)…a little scared, but mostly excited.”
“We exposed the Future Soldiers to a lot today and showed them that Soldiers do these things every day, said Busby. “Many barriers and fears were alleviated today.”
The Future Soldier Orientation ended on a high note with them asking questions of Drill Sergeants about the rules for contacting family and friends and attending religious services during their Basic Training. And Columbia Company Commander, Capt. Karen Roxberry thanked the group and commended them on their dedication and courage.
“We are so close to Ft. Jackson; it would be doing a disservice to our Future Soldiers to not expose them to the training,” Busby concluded. “Now they can go into Basic Training with a better mental focus and really succeed.”
The event was so successful; Busby said he will begin scheduling the event every quarter. “This event will continue to get better each time we execute it.”