Friday, September 28, 2012

MilJo - Part 3

Alright, well after a LONG, but amazingly awesome day yesterday, I rose at 5:30 a.m. today (Thursday, Sept. 27) and we headed out for another full day. We headed back to the reception center for the new recruits, and went on a tour of the facility. We were able to see where the recruits receive their clothes, get their hair cut, or rather shaved, everything. It was a little entertaining to see all of the recruits standing in their socks as they waited to get their boots. 

We had about an hour there before heading over to witness the Army’s stand down day as they recognized the issue of suicide prevention. Did you know that 18 percent of military women and one percent of men will report being sexually assaulted? Although the women have a greater percentage, the number of men is actually higher. 

And along with financial and relationship problems, sexual assault is a major contribution to military suicides. The presentation was witnessed by numerous military measures so they could take the lessons back to their men and women.

Following the presentation we were able to interview Major General Mark Yenter and Command Sergeant Major Robert Wells about everything from the suicide and suicide prevention issue to the future of the Army with most of our troops coming back home from Afghanistan in the upcoming months. 

The last thing on our agenda for the day was heading back to the reception center so some of us could interview the new recruits. Luckily, they did find one recruit, Brittany Smith, from Milwaukee, Wis. who volunteered to for an interview. Or rather, one of the drill sergeants mentioned it to her and she gave the only possible answer: “Yes, Drill Sergeant!”

Unlike most of the recruits there, Brittany was 28 years old and because of her college degree, was able to enroll as an E-4 specialist, the highest possible rank a new recruit can enter as. She comes from a strong military family and has family members that have served in every branch of the military. When I asked her why she chose the Army over the other branches, she said that the Army and Marines go harder on the female recruits, and she wanted a challenge. What I found inspiring is that she had to lose 80 lbs. before she could enlist, and in the process she grew stronger, strong enough to match or do better than some of the guys during physical training. 

To see a video interview with Brittany Smith, visit: for part 1; and for part 2.

To see more photos from Thursday, Sept. 27, click here.

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