By Regan Mertz
A group of 35 educators from the Great Lakes area traveled to Fort Leonard Wood June 18 to 20 to learn more about the installation and the military.
The group, which consisted of professors, teachers and counselors, were a part of the Great Lakes Recruiting Battalion Educators Tour that travels here every summer.
“The Army puts on the tour by partnering with the Great Lakes Recruiting Battalion. The tour takes place every year in the summer with five green suitors that organize and lead the tour for the teachers and counselors,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ray Davis, Ground Transportation instructor.
The purpose of the tour is to provide educators with information about what a career in the military entails. They can then relay this information to help their students make informed decisions about their futures.
“This tour helps me, because when the recruiters come in, the kids always have a lot of questions,” said Christine Berreth, teacher. “Now I have so much more information, and I feel like I can confidently answer a lot of their questions. I know who to refer them to, and I know more about the benefits that are available for different job opportunities.”
Educators participated in a variety of activities during their three-day excursion. They toured several areas on post such as the 43rd Adjutant General Battalion Reception Station, the Digital Training Facility, the Timmerberg Building, the Technical Skills Division, a U.S. Marine Corps obstacle course, the 795th Military Police Battalion barracks and the Truman Education Center. They also gained more knowledge about the Engagement Skills Trainer and the Soldier for Life Program.
In addition to the tour, educators also had the opportunity to take part in various hands-on opportunities. The Ground Support Training Area with the U.S. Air Force Squadron provided one of those opportunities.
While at the training area, the educators hopped into one of the driving simulators and experienced what service members in the Air Force go through while training at Fort Leonard Wood.
“It gave me an upset stomach, but it was an awesome experience. It was so much fun,” Professor Adrian Gandara said.
The simulators contain the dashboard, steering wheel and pedals of the actual trucks but in a much safer and more controlled environment. Participants, educators and service members alike sit in the cab of the truck and look out of a make-shift windshield and windows, and are confronted by screens in front of and to the sides of them. The screens present different scenarios with changing environments and weather conditions.
“The simulators are such a great tool for young people coming in because they are inexperienced with driving. It’s so great because it’s safe,” Berreth said.
Educators ate lunch with Soldiers in training at the dining facility. The Soldiers told the group why they joined the military and answered many questions. They also joined U.S. Army Guard and Reserve Soldiers for dinner.