Students get introduction to National Guard

Published 1:25 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior staff writer

The moment they stepped off the bus, Verbena High School students had a taste of military life.

Drill Sergeants got students off the bus shouting orders to keep moving and form straight lines.

During the visit to the 440th Alabama National Guard, Students were introduced to the career opportunities in the National Guard.

Students from all of the Chilton County high schools visited the National Guard Armory at different times on Feb. 15.

Juwan Tyus, Verbena High School senior, said he had looked forward to learning about how the National Guard works and what they do.

“I enjoyed them being down to earth, and talking to me about the weapons and medical specialties and how they treat their patients for gunshot wounds and stuff like that,” Tyus said.

Tyus plans on attending college, but said he is considering the military if his initial plans do not pan out.

Sabrasha Osborne, Verbena High School senior, said she had not been prepared for the drill sergeants.

“It was kind of like an eye opener and what they go through, to show you this is not an easy job. This is something you have to be mind ready for,” Osborne said.

Osborne said she enjoyed seeing the different types of equipment. However, she said joining the military “it’s just not for me.”

“I have six that have committed to the service, so it’s good for them to see what they’ve got coming up,” Kelli Muncher, counselor at Verbena High School, said.

Muncher said the trip also provided a welcome break after tests last week.

Sgt. First Class Trent Martin, recruiter for the local unit, said the goal of the day was to give students a hands-on introduction to the National Guard. In addition to the Clanton-based unit, units from Prattville and Selma were also onsite.

“We want to make students aware of the job opportunities in the Guard, and how the Guard can help them basically get a foundation for the rest of their life,” Lt. Col. Brad Benton said.

Presentations included healthcare, infantry military police, search and rescue unit and chemical units. Students had the opportunity to sit in a National Guard vehicle, use night vision goggles, hold equipment and climb into a medical vehicle. Students also tested their skills on a climbing wall.

National Guard members at each station talked about the equipment and training involved.

“There are probably over 150 jobs in the Alabama National Guard in 60 different career fields,” Benton said. “If you want to be a mechanic, we have mechanic jobs. If you want to be an electrician, we have electrician.”

The Alabama National Guard has a dual role serving state and federal missions.

“When tornadoes, winter storms, things like that, hit the state of Alabama that is your National Guard that is out there running checkpoints, handing out tarps … stuff like that, Benton said.

However, the Guard can also be called in to active military duty and deployed overseas.