Seniors explore careers at National Guard Armory

Published 2:50 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Seniors in Chilton County high schools were introduced to career possibilities in the Army National Guard during Citizen to Soldier on Feb. 23.

Cadet Sha’Diamond Mayfield said the guard helped her develop the discipline and confidence to go to college.

“I have been on the dean’s list every year, and I graduate in May,” Mayfield said.

She said the one weekend a month training gives her a break from the day-to-day and helps her get ready for the next thing she needs to do.

Mayfield made the decision to join the guard after taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test in school.

Some of the opportunities showcased for the students included explosive ordinance disposal and medical.

Staff Sergeant Kenneth Doolar showed students the equipment and technology used to disarm an explosive. At another station, Specialist Elijah Logan talked about providing medical care. He emphasized that opportunities could be in combat or on base.

Chilton County High School student Jose Guzman said he enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the Guard and see the equipment they use. For him, the most interesting presentation was the explosive ordinance disposal station.

CCHS student Tristan Henson said he had heard about what the Guard does, but it was good to be able to see it. He enjoyed the hands-on aspects of the event.

“We got to put on a vest and do pushups,” Henson said. “We got to get in the Humvee and look around.”

CCHS student Zoe Batchelor said she enjoyed seeing all the jobs that are available in the guard.

“It’s not just going into combat,” Batchelor said. “You can be an engineer and have a job, or you can be a nurse and have a job.”

Since she is planning on working in the medical field, Batchelor said she enjoyed seeing the medical vehicle.

Fellow student Jessica Feth is thinking about going into nursing and wants to join the Guard because of her uncle, who was a member of the National Guard.

“I like to do anything that has to do with helping people,” Feth said.

Student Mondez Jones said he enjoyed seeing what the Guard did.

“It was a great experience,” Jones said.

Chief Warrant Officer Scott Baccigalopi said he hopes students consider the Guard as an option as a result of the event, especially if they are planning on attending college to help pay for it.

“The younger generations these days, and the community as a whole, really doesn’t understand what the Guard does,” Baccigalopi said.

Baccigalopi joined the Army National Guard 16 years ago to pay for college after losing his scholarship.

“We actually work for the governor of Alabama,” Baccigalopi said. “Since we work for the governor, our main mission is to support the people of Alabama in hurricanes, tornadoes (and) any kind of natural disaster — we are a part of the first responders.”

He said there are actually 150 different jobs in the National Guard, from mechanics to special forces.

Baccigalopi also said joining the Guard can give someone going straight into the workforce experience to put on their resume and networking opportunities.

Sgt. First Class Frances Faulk showed students some of the weapons used by the Army. She encouraged female students that they could do any of the things they saw during the event. CCHS assistant principal Rosalyn Dixon said she hopes students see the opportunities the Guard could bring in the event.

“I have really just enjoyed seeing some of the technological advances that they have,” Dixon said.

She said this piqued the students interest also and helped them open up and ask questions.