FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Jan. 17, 2019) -- Students at Eisenhower Senior High School in Lawton, got a glimpse of the air defense artillery branch and Army benefits as Soldiers from Fort Sill and recruiters from Oklahoma City visited the school Jan. 10, 2019. Dozens of students got to experience the hands-on activity during the four-hour event inside an auxiliary gym.

It was part of a new outreach initiative that brings active-duty units to assist recruiters with their efforts, said Capt. Nicholas Chopp, Oklahoma City West Recruiting Company commander.

"Lawton is already a great recruiting environment for us thanks to Fort Sill. This visit shows students what an air defender does," Chopp said. "We want to show them there's a whole lot more to the Army than just the infantry, which is only 4 percent. We have 150 jobs available to you to enhance your life whether it's for three years or 30."

Lt. Col. Cedric Lee, 2nd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery commander, welcomed students telling them about the history of Fort Sill and its current missions, highlighting ADA training.

"We wanted to expose the students to a small portion of what we do as air defenders," Lee said. "We also wanted them to know that there are many, many opportunities in the Army."

Instructors from the ADA School brought a virtual Stinger (missile) dome trainer with them, said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Aguilar, chief of academics. The trainer is used to teach Soldiers in Advanced Individual Training to become (Avenger) Air Missile Defense crewmembers, or Military Occupational Specialty 14P.

"A lot of our younger Soldiers are into video games and virtual reality," Aguilar said. "The trainer allows them to fire a Stinger missile with their team chief, who is holding them by their right shoulder."

Aguilar said he wanted the students to consider the ADA branch, if they are thinking about going into the military.

"Air defense is a growing branch right now, and there are a lot of opportunities for female and male enlisted Soldiers," he said.

Aguilar and two instructors from 2-6th ADA explained how the Stinger is used against helicopters and jets, and helped the students don the headsets and backpacks for the trainer. They explained how the team chief works with the gunner as they search the virtual sky for hostile threats.

Sophomores Kekoa Tordillos and Hideyuki Maimiuda as a team tried out the virtual trainer.

"It was a pretty good experience seeing what the Army does, what an Avenger crew does," Tordillos. "It was fun."

Chopp along with another recruiter talked to the students about the Army benefits, and provided giveaways. The educational benefits are some of the greatest draws to potential recruits, the captain said.

"You spend three years in the Army and you're entitled to the G.I. Bill, and there's tuition assistance that's available while you're in the Army," he said.

Chopp said every Soldier is a recruiter.

"You can always tell your Army story: Why you joined, what you're getting out of the Army."