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Officers take youth on tour of National Infantry Museum

Some local high school students were treated to a tour of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center Tuesday with former officers recalling moments in military history.

“We take youngsters and give them something they already know, but from a perspective that might be a little bit more realistic than what they get in a classroom,” said Skip Harnish, local director of the Youth Leadership Conference of the Military Order of the World Wars.

Harnish led six students from Columbus and Phenix City high schools through the museum, noting the use of military weapons, soldiers clothing and important moments during World War II, Vietnam War and other conflicts. As part of the organization’s leadership conference, Harnish said the program promotes leadership skills, patriotism and the free enterprise systems among the students.

The MMOWW dates back to World War I, when Gen. John Pershing wanted an organization where officers could come together, discuss their experiences and pass on bits of information to others throughout the nation, said retired Lt. Col. Gary Engen, vice commander of the MOWW and director of the Youth Leadership Conference in Augusta, Ga.

 “It gives youth experience, American values and those types of things,” said Engen who was in Columbus to observe the local conference. “We are doing that through Youth Leadership Conferences and there are about 20 or more of those throughout the nation.”