West Nassau High School Air Force Junior ROTC Flight 955 visited Fort Jackson May 24, to see the "reality" of being a trainee in Basic Combat Training.

The road to reality lasted more than eight hours round trip for instructors, chaperones and students of a Air Force JROTC flight as they traveled from West Nassau High School out of Callahan, Florida to Fort Jackson.

On their visit, students witnessed trainees rappel down Victory Tower; saw the bays that become living quarters for trainees over the 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and toured the Basic Combat
Training Museum.

Student Lilly Johnson who plans to join the Air Force after graduation enjoyed visiting Victory Tower. "Victory Tower was pretty cool; it was fun just watching them rappel down."

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Edward Spiezio, and chief of West Nassau High School Air Force JROTC Flight 955, said the tour to Fort Jackson gives the students who are thinking about joining
the military a glimpse of reality.

"A lot of the students think that joining the military is like the movies." Spiezio said actually seeing the trainees in action helps students make a well informed decision when deciding what to do
after graduation.

"They are at that age where they are starting to make decisions on which way they want to go after
graduation," he said. "Seeing the day-to-day grind, the mental and the physical aspects of the training, allows them to better shape their opinions on which way they will go."

For student Matthew Gaus, who plans to join the Navy after graduation, joining JROTC in high
school helps him stand out on college applications and will help him continue a family tradition without having to start at the same rank as everyone else.

"I joined JROTC because of the way it looks on college applications and the benefit of joining the
service as an E3 rather than an E1," he said. "I want to serve to continue my family tradition."
Gaus said his favorite stop on the tour was the Basic Combat Training Museum because it gave
him a glimpse of history.

"The museum was really cool," Gaus said. "It was cool to see how technology has progressed from
World War I to the present day."