Gaynors – Dealership Alternative Coupon $25 OFF 728×90

Army life the focus of recent tour for Clark County recruits

Future soldiers visit Joint Base Lewis-McChord

The U.S. Army gave future soldiers from Clark County a look at what life will be like for them, showcasing its equipment and living facilities at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM).

“It was good to get the opportunity to see it before we do it,” said Zachary Davis, a Hudson’s Bay High School student who is planning to join the Army after he graduates in 2019.

Zachary Davis, of Vancouver, left, gets some information on what life is like working for the military police in the U.S. Army at a recent tour of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Davis and several other future soldiers visited the installation earlier this week. Photo by Capt. Kenneth Wheeler, U.S. Army
Zachary Davis, of Vancouver, left, gets some information on what life is like working for the military police in the U.S. Army at a recent tour of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Davis and several other future soldiers visited the installation earlier this week. Photo by Capt. Kenneth Wheeler, U.S. Army

“The base was not what I was expecting,” added Ranger Chiepot, who also plans to enlist. “It was way better. It is its own town.”

The Vancouver Recruiting Company, commanded by Capt. Kenneth Wheeler, was part of a larger group that visited JBLM Tuesday. In all, about 60 potential soldiers from Vancouver, Longview, Portland and Beaverton toured the installation, located south of Tacoma.

Some have already enlisted and are on the delayed entry program. Others are considering a future with the Army. They witnessed presentations from the military police, communications, and engineering.

“I want to be an MP,” Davis said. “That demonstration was really cool, to see the equipment I might be able to work with one day.”

Engineers showed off their vehicles that sweep for bombs, can dig up explosives up and detonate the devices.

Austin Thompson, who attends Fort Vancouver High School, was impressed.

“How high-tech the equipped vehicles are, that is what surprised me,” he said.

The communications team set up satellites to show how soldiers can communicate with anyone in the world.

Chase Martin, who is scheduled to report Aug. 13 for basic training at Fort Benning, GA, said he enjoyed all the presentations but is still committed to his chosen military occupational specialty: 11 X-Ray, infantryman.

 

Chase Martin, of Vancouver, operates a robot from the 14th Engineering Battalion earlier this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Several Army recruits got a tour of the installation. Martin is scheduled to report for training in August. Photo by Capt. Kenneth Wheeler, U.S. Army
Chase Martin, of Vancouver, operates a robot from the 14th Engineering Battalion earlier this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Several Army recruits got a tour of the installation. Martin is scheduled to report for training in August. Photo by Capt. Kenneth Wheeler, U.S. Army

 

The tour at JBLM was not all about how soldiers work, but also how they live. The recruits got a look at a Warrior Zone, a place for single soldiers to unwind with video games, food, and friendship.

Wheeler said surveys have shown that more than 50 percent of teens and young adults in America know very little or nothing about the Army. One recently told Wheeler the only thing he knew about the military was from the movie Full Metal Jacket, a film released in 1987 that dealt with the Vietnam era.

Wheeler and all recruiters can assure people that the military is very different now. The tours help with that mission.

“It’s good to be able to bring people up to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and see the actual Army, to be able to see what the Army is about,” Wheeler said.

William Byman, 20, said the tour gave him an up-close look at soldiers performing their mission, describing the Army “an honorable profession.”

“They gave us free liberty to ask any questions we had,” Byman said. “That was very helpful.”

Ranger Cheipot, of Vancouver, received some information on the Husky Engineering Vehicle when he visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord earlier this week. Several future soldiers from Clark County visited the U.S. Army installation. Photo by Capt. Kenneth Wheeler, U.S. Army
Ranger Cheipot, of Vancouver, received some information on the Husky Engineering Vehicle when he visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord earlier this week. Several future soldiers from Clark County visited the U.S. Army installation. Photo by Capt. Kenneth Wheeler, U.S. Army

While this week’s visit did not include a stop at the barracks, Davis said he saw the barracks on a previous tour.

“They are more like college dorms now,” he said, noting it is nothing like what is depicted in the movies.

Capt. Wheeler said it is important for the Army to provide a quality life besides the training, beyond the mission.

“The soldier is a valuable asset,” Wheeler said. “They have increased the living standard of the American soldier.”

Martin is less than two months away from beginning his life as a soldier.

“I wanted to give back to my country. I wanted something good to do in my life,” Martin said. “I like a challenge.”

Earlier this week, he and his colleagues got the chance to see what it is like for the people who have already accepted that challenge.

We'd love to hear your comments!
Phoenix Technology 728×90

About The Author

Paul Valencia

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

Related posts

CCT Football 728×90

Follow this blog

Get a daily email of all new posts.