FORT SILL, Okla. (June 29, 2017) -- This is the fifth in a series following high school and college students in the Army National Guard's Split Option Program. They will return to school after basic combat training and resume advanced individual training next summer. Be sure to see the videos of their training adventures on our Facebook page. Trainees of C Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery entered the White Phase of training June 17. They also got to phone home on Father's Day. Here's what they had to say. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pfc. Rachel Dibbins, San Diego, Northwest Missouri State University senior.White phase: She was selected to be Platoon Guide for 2nd Platoon (Death Dealers) and wears sergeant first class stripes on her right shoulder. She was hoarse from calling cadence and keeping her platoon in line. "Yelling at everyone to be on time everywhere definitely takes your voice away." The new rank isn't permanent. "I think it instills a leadership position in you. Having it on is kind of a way to tell the platoon that you're in charge and that you have control, and that you are respected enough to get a position like that. It's definitely kept me busy and I really enjoy it. We have a great group of people in our platoon that really want to work hard."Phone home: "I was mostly trying not to cry. I told my parents right when I called them I know I'm gonna cry so just calm me down so we can actually talk about something. But I pulled it together pretty fast and we talked about all the training that I've done. "I've written them almost every day so they're very updated on what I'm doing. I did really well in not crying until my dad said, 'I'm so proud of you' and I lost it. It was so good to hear their voices."Letters home: "I think the letters are what we get really excited for. I'm kind of infamous for getting the most letters, having the most mail in our platoon because my mom writes way too much." She laughed. "It's a little embarrassing but that's OK. I appreciate the letters."Care packages: "My mom sent me a journal which got taken away. That was kinda sad. She must not have read the directions on what we could have. "One kid's mom sent 50 rolls of toilet paper. That was a little strange."Gas chamber: "It was really anxiety-prone in the beginning because you don't know what's happening, but they prepared us very, very well. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. When we got out it was like 'I'm dying' but after about 30 seconds your eyes stop watering and snot stops coming out." They had to recite "The Soldier's Creed" when they removed their masks. "I think I got about two words in, and then I just wanted out." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pvt. DeJon Riley, New Orleans, Clark Preparatory High School senior.Letters home: "I feel when I look up to the sky, they look up and see the same sky. So there's no reason to write letters, because I know we're looking at the same sky, so we're together always." Phone home: He talked to his grandmother. "It motivated me even more to try my best to graduate, so I can go back home proud of what I've done here."Family pride: He said his grandmother wasn't in favor of him joining the Army. "I promised her I wouldn't go into any active-duty posts. It took about four to five weeks to convince her and when she finally signed the papers I was happy." Gas chamber: "He didn't make it too far into "The Soldier's Creed." "It's horrible. Burning lungs, face burning, neck was already burning, it's like someone lit a fire to your lungs."Lessons learned: "I trip up a lot, and I do get corrected by the drill sergeants, but that's to help me. "They have my best interests at heart. The more they yell, the more I know they care. The more they make you do pushups, that's free PT right there. They like to use that one a lot. The more I mess up, the more they correct, the more I get better. "Everyone in my platoon, we're starting to bond more and get to know each other, and that's a great quality." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Pfc. Cailin Cinnamon, Garber (Okla.) High School senior .White phase: "We get more personal time at the end of the day, so that's nice."Phone home: called her mom. "And I listened to a bunch of voice mails from my grandfather and my mom." It was part of the 30 minutes they were allotted. "But it was worth it," she said. "We miss each other, and we love each other."Letters home: Her letter-writing time has been cut short by all the essays they have had to write on subjects such as respect and character.Gas chamber: "It hurt a lot. I just wanted to get it over with." She did better with "The Soldier's Creed, making it to the fourth line, and squeezed in the final line before they were released into the fresh air. What did she learn from the chemical/biological/radiological training? "You should always know your surroundings and look out for your battle buddies." ----------------------------------- Pvt. Shane McDonald, Warrenton, Va., Newport University, Newport News, Va.White phase: "The drill sergeants have kind of backed off a little bit. They're not getting in our face as much. They're leaving that up to our leadership that we now have, a Platoon Guide, who's another private that's kind of the mediator between us and the drill sergeants. Then we have squad leaders that are in charge of our immediate problems. If we're missing our wallet or notebook and pen we can talk to our squad leaders, and squad leader can talk to the PG and the PG can talk to the drill sergeant. So it's more of a chain of command, and the drill sergeants only have to talk to one or two privates rather than having 40 of us yelling at them asking for different things."Red phase was very chaotic. It was made to be stressful. They wanted to see how you handle the stress. They constantly say there's reasoning for everything they do. There's a purpose behind absolutely everything. It's all there to make us better, to see who stands out as leaders, who stands out as followers."Phone home: "My dad was on a road trip so I called him first, wished him a happy Father's Day. "(He also called his mom and a few friends.)Gas chamber: "I heard a lot of horror stories, and stories that people had slightly embellished because they wanted to see the reaction of someone who wasn't sure what to expect. One of the drill sergeants was talking about how the chamber slowly fills up with the slime and goo and all this gross matter from all the privates before you. He was telling stories about how that gets stuck to your shoes and people fall into it -- just to freak us out, to get us more nervous than we already were. They were saying whatever you eat before you go into the gas chamber, make sure it's colorful because they like to see the paintings." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pvt. Tyler LeBlanc, Cocoa, Fla., Salem (Mass.) State University junior.Phone home: He called his mother, and his girlfriend. "There was a lot of waterworks. They were both crying. I told them to hold it in, everything's gonna be fine, we only have 37 more days left."Care packages: "I told them not to (send treats) because the drill sergeants will go through that real quick. We're not trying to feed the drill sergeants."Family pride: "My mother pushed me to be in the Army, because my grandfather was in the Army, and she more or less wanted to keep that tradition rolling. When I came to her with that idea she was ecstatic, so she pushed it along."Gas chamber: He said he wasn't too scared going in until he saw a battle buddy's reaction. "He was jumping up and down, a big guy, so it freaked me out a little bit. And it was a horror story after that. It felt like your skin was peeling off your body, your eyes were bleeding, your throat was closing up."