High school students got a close up look at the U.S. Army Thursday as soldiers put on a show for them at Fort Benning’s fourth annual Army Strong Experience.
Also in attendance were educators, collegiate shooters and other guests including 150 future soldiers.
The event coordinator, Sgt. 1st Class Chris Ortega about 900 students participated in the program.
“We wanted them to see and experience what the Army is about” Ortega said.
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He said the students, who are involved in JROTC, came from Georgia and Alabama.
Ortega said some students knew little about the Army other than what they have seen on television.
On a cool, blustery day, students climbed on and in tanks, checked out a variety of simulators, examined a weapons display and some jumped off an Airborne parachute training tower.
A Rangers in action demonstration featured the soldiers from the Ranger Training Brigade and the 4th Ranger Training Battalion doing live action demolition, mountaineering, hand to hand combat and other activities.
Members of the U.S. Marksmanship Unit demonstrated their skills with several types of guns and rifles including a shotgun demonstration.
One of the shooters, Staff Sgt. Lee Dimaculangan, said he likes the idea of the program.
“It is a good way for the Army to get in touch with America’s youth,” he said. “The students get to talk to soldiers and get a better idea of what the Army has to offer. They can see the skills needed to be a soldier in today’s Army.””
Hardaway High School sophomore Ayanna Melson, called the demonstration by the Rangers, ”amazing.”
She said that both of her parents served in the Army. She has considered it as a career but wants to be an architect.