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NEWS | Feb. 22, 2016

98th Training Division hosts Future Soldier event

By Story by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Ten drill sergeants and prospective drill sergeants from the 98th Training Div. (IET) spent an unseasonably warm winter day in Asheville, North Carolina, teaching basic Army Warrior Tasks to close to 40 future Soldiers, Feb. 20, 2016.

The program, known as Future Soldiers Day, was a chance for young citizens from the Asheville as well as Greenville, South Carolina, areas who have either enlisted in or are planning to enlist in the Army and Army Reserve get a firsthand introduction to basic drill and ceremony, weapons safety, and Army physical readiness training.

“Basically, this is us showing them skill level 10 tasks that we teach and reinforce so that when the Soldiers get to basic training that’s one less thing they have to worry about and they can then move on to other things,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony Childs, Co. C, 1st Bn., 518th Inf. Reg., 98th Training Division (IET).

The day also served as a chance for the drill sergeants from the 1st Bn., 518th Inf. Reg. to hone their skills as they prepare for their summer annual training mission to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in support of TRADOC at the basic combat training companies.

“This is the first event of this nature for us here in Asheville,” Childs said. “I’m hoping that the future Soldiers get a glimpse of life in basic training. I’m hoping that my cadre get to polish some skills and get to interact with young Soldiers. And I’m hoping that my drill sergeant candidates get to see the teaching methods they’re going to have to use when they get out there on the trail.”

For some in the group of young citizens this was their first glimpse of life in the Army and it made an impact.

“This is the first time I have ever done anything like this,” said Bailee Dean from Anderson, South Carolina, who recently enlisted in the Army Reserve. “If I would have known we were going to do a workout I wouldn’t have worn my jeans. I would have worn my exercise gear.”

After completing a rigorous physical workout and moving straight into the class room for an introduction to map reading and land navigation, Dean, who plans to go to college after completing her advanced individual training at Fort Lee, Virginia as a supply specialist, admitted the experience was eye opening.

“I’m glad I came and did this,” she said. “I am going to go ahead and tell you right now map reading is not my thing. I need to do a whole lot of work on that. And the PRT; my push-ups were not looking good at all.”

For others, it wasn’t necessarily the physical training or the classes that made an impact; it was the chow.

Joshua Shields, a future cavalry scout who leaves for basic combat training in May, spent no time tearing into an MRE that the cadre provided to them for lunch.

“It’s not bad. You really don’t even have to heat it up; plus I’m really hungry,” Shields said.

Army Reserve drill sergeant, Staff Sgt. Angela Lee, also with the 1st Bn. 518th Inf. Reg., a drill sergeant since 2009, has been to other Future Soldier events and says the value for both, the future Soldiers and the cadre, is tremendous.

“I think doing things like this makes perfect since,” she said. “When the kids get to basic they’re so scared and out of their element that they’re not retaining anything, I think this gives them a head start, puts them more at ease, and helps relieve that stress of the first few days of basic combat training.”

“For us it helps relieve the monotony of weekend Battle Assemblies. It keeps us engaged and forces us as drill sergeants to keep up with our skills so that we’re not teaching these kids the wrong thing. That’s a win-win for everybody.”