By Staff Sgt. Joel SalgadoMarch 25, 2014
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Fourteen future Soldiers from the Bloomington, Ind. Recruiting Station were given a glimpse of their future during a visit here March 19.
"This is the first major [tour] we've done like this where we've gotten the post and an entire Brigade involved," said Staff Sgt. Forrest Uribe a recruiter with the Bloomington Recruiting Station.
The primary focus of the tour was observing training and interacting with Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team 'Rakkasans', 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Uribe said he chose the Brigade because he knew the unit offered a unique view of what it means to be a Soldier, a view he wanted his future Soldiers to see.
"I'm a former Rakkasan myself and as former Rakkasan, I know there's a lot of heritage here, they always make you feel like a family," he said.
After a 45 minute drive through the training areas of Fort Campbell, the future Soldiers were given a taste of Army life when arrived at Range 42 where they observed a Combined Arms Walk & Shoot exercise being conducted in preparation for Operation Golden Eagle, a Brigade-sized Air Assault and were given a chance to interact with Soldiers performing their jobs.
"It was awesome, a really good experience," said Chris Morgan a future infantry Soldier. "Seeing them do what they actually do, it motivates me more toward doing what I have to do."
Before their tour with 3rd BCT, the future Soldiers conducted a tour of the base to McAuliffe Hall, the 101st Abn. Div. headquarters building, to see the historical artifacts and memorials.
Following the tour of Division headquarters, the future Soldiers had a chance to see what it was like to fire various weapons employed by the U.S. Army at the Engagement Skills Trainer.
The weapons at the EST use air pressurize to simulate the recoil of actual weapons and fire lasers at a screen to determine if a target is hit.
"The post portion was great to see the history of the 101st, and they got to fire at the EST and they enjoyed that a lot," said Uribe. "All I've been hearing are great things about it."
Uribe, who has conducted previous tours to Fort Campbell, said that opportunities like this are really helpful to him and his fellow recruiters to give the future Soldiers a chance to see the Army life before they ship to basic training.
"This was an amazing trip," he said. "I think it is a great thing for USAREC (U.S. Recruiting Command) to get involved in. I'm going to push to my [replacement] so that they continue this yearly."
For the future Soldiers, they left with a better understanding of the dedication it takes to be a Soldier and the camaraderie and values being a Soldier instills.
"I felt that it was a great opportunity to see what it's like," said Corey Smith, a future artilleryman. "It's different than what would you think."