FORT STEWART, Ga. - Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division hosted a tour showcasing some of the 3rd Inf. Div. and 4th IBCT's facilities, equipment, and personnel April 9, on Fort Stewart, Ga.

The Cottonbaler Soldiers spoke to students in the United Community Bank's Junior Board of Directors program, consisting of 18 specially selected students from Brunswick, Ga., community high schools including Brunswick High School, Glenn Academy, and Frederick Academy.

These students are required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average, a 95 percent attendance rate, and have no major discipline infractions. Since this prestigious program is so competitive, a recommendation from a teacher is required and then initial candidates are interviewed. Students are chosen for the following year's board by current board members in the spring, prior to graduation.

The students chosen for this program are usually on the fast track to big things in life. "These are people probably going to be mayors, possible congressmen, and hopefully we gave them a positive look at the military for when they become politicians and local leaders," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Streeper, 4th IBCT's community relations officer.

The students were first taken to Fort Stewart's virtual campus, a collection of training activities including vehicle rollover simulations, convoy operations simulations, and engagement skills trainers for most of the Army's individual and crew-served weapons systems. They observed training in progress at the convoy simulator, where Soldiers were attacked by an enemy and had to react appropriately.

Next they were shown the engagement skills trainer for the M249 squad automatic weapon and the M240B light machine gun. Instructors were ensuring that the simulated weapons systems operated correctly in order to make the training as real and cost effective as possible.

Following the virtual campus, the Junior Board was given a tour of Warrior's Walk, which is the U.S. Army's only living memorial. An Eastern Redbud tree is planted for each fallen 3rd Inf. Div. Soldier since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, up until the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Following the tour of Warrior's Walk, the students got a quick tour of the 4th IBCT compound, where they were shown everything from Soldiers barracks, company operations facilities, the Brigade headquarters, and the Vanguard Gym, where they work out.

Lunch was served at the Vanguard Dining Facility, winners of last year's Connelly Award, for best dining facility in the Army.

The last portion of the tour was a capabilities display, again hosted by Soldiers from 3-7 Inf. Soldiers had equipment on display from weapons to radios and medical equipment, and gave a brief on each piece of equipment. Students were allowed to handle unloaded weapons ranging from the M9 pistol to various sniper rifles and even a vehicle mounted missile system.

"It's definitely influenced me, it's definitely given me a different perspective on the Army, and the military," said Lennox George II, a member of the Junior Board. "I want to be a doctor, and I see these medics that get about 4 months of training and have to go right into the workforce. You've got to deal with traumatic scenes and just deal with it. Overall this was a good atmosphere."