Army recruiters put prospective soldiers through paces in BR
“I want to save lives; I want to be a hero. A lot of people can’t say that (but) I’m looking forward to being in the Army. I’m not afraid. I’m ready to dive in.” Ruben Stephens III, 19, recruit
To be all that you can be in the Army, recruiters say it helps to know in advance what you’re getting into.
And that’s exactly what about 40 future soldiers, ages 17 to 34, got Saturday morning when the U.S. Army Recruiting Co. in Baton Rouge hosted its Mega Future Soldier Event in City Park.
Army recruiters gave the new generation of potential soldiers, all of whom have already signed papers to join the Army, a crash course in basic squad movements, land navigation, battle drills and nonverbal commands for tactical situations.
The four skills were divided into mini-training camps scattered throughout City Park on Saturday. The participants shuffled among the camps from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and were then tested to see how much knowledge they were able to retain.
“They’ve all signed on the dotted line but haven’t gone to basic training yet,” Capt. Steven Milauskas said of Saturday’s group. “We’re preparing them for basic training. The better prepared they are, the easier it will be.”
Milauskas said his office recruited most of the prospective soldiers from East Baton Rouge Parish and nearby communities, including Gonzales and Hammond. A few recruits are reporting for basic training next week while others leave a year from now, he added.
The recruits include Ruben Stephens III, 19, who leaves for basic training in South Carolina on Oct. 8.
Stephens, a East Ascension High graduate from Gonzales, said he appreciated Saturday’s training. He said it gave him the opportunity to gain a learning curve before starting boot camp.
“I want to save lives; I want to be a hero,” Stephens said. “A lot of people can’t say that (but) I’m looking forward to being in the Army. I’m not afraid. I’m ready to dive in.”
Shaneidra Brooks displayed similar enthusiasm Saturday.
Brooks, a 22-year-old Tangipahoa Parish resident, takes off for basic training on Oct. 29. She said she’ll be joining the ranks of a bevy of other military women in her family which include her mom, aunt and younger sister.
“I’m nervous, but I get excited, too,” Brooks said. “I know it will be a challenge. It’ll be a life-changing thing. But it’ll humble me.”
Brooks said Saturday’s training better prepared her for boot camp, but she’s not fooled into thinking the real thing will be as laid-back and fun as Saturday’s training exercises.
“I know it will be more in-depth when we get there,” Brooks said. “My mom has already told me what will happen. I’m ready for the challenge.”