Engineer Day

Introducing Tomorrow’s Soldiers to Today’s National Guard

 

Written by Maj. Lorraine Januzelli

   
C.J., left, Shaun and Rolf implement their plan to escape their “prison cell” at the Leadership Reaction Course (LRC)

Photo taken by Maj. Lorraine Januzelli

C.J., left, Shaun and Rolf implement their plan to escape their “prison cell” at the Leadership Reaction Course (LRC)

CAMP WILLIAMS, June 5, 2004 – For many modern-day youths, make-believe adventures vis--vis video games and DVDs dominate their leisure time.  This past weekend, many of these same young people tasted some real-life adventure, courtesy of the Utah Army National Guard’s Engineer Corps and Recruiting Command. 

Held annually at Camp Williams, Engineer Day offered willing youths a chance to try their hand at rappelling and the leadership reaction course (LRC), test their driving skills on the HUMMV obstacle course, operate big equipment at the Heavy Dig Site, and check out a few of the Army’s small arms and crew served weapons. 

Rolf and Shaun, two typical digital-age sixteen year-olds, came from nearby Pleasant Grove to try out the Engineer Day activities because they hoped to have a little fun. They left with much more: a richer appreciation of the military and a sincere interest in joining up once they turn 17.

Rolf’s parents are both in the Utah National Guard and come from a long lineage of soldiers and airmen.  Shaun, whose parents are active in the community, had almost no contact with the military prior to Engineer Day.  Despite their dissimilar backgrounds, both young men were equally impressed with their experiences there.

“C.J., Shaun and Rolf discuss alternate methods of solving their problem at the LRC.”

Photo taken by Maj. Lorraine Januzelli

“C.J., Shaun and Rolf discuss alternate methods of solving their problem at the LRC.”

“I really enjoyed the leadership reaction course,” Shaun explained.  “I especially liked the problem-solving aspect of it.”

Rolf readily agreed, adding that he would have liked another shot at one of the other problems at the LRC.  “I know we could have done the next one faster,” he asserted.

Sixteen-year-old C.J. from Vernal joined the two Pleasant Grove youths at the LRC and the three were tasked with escaping from a simulated prison camp.  Initially unsure of their options, the young men quickly formed a cohesive team and devised a number of creative, though not always successful, escape options.  Ultimately, they developed a workable solution and escaped their “prison cell.”  They also experienced first-hand one of the military’s most effective and enduring weapons – teamwork.

SFC Bowcutt, recruiter for the American Fork and Pleasant Grove region, has seen this kind of enlightenment before in potential recruits. “Getting the kids involved in the actual mission of the engineers really give the kids a feel for what we really do and gets them excited about being part of the National Guard,” he explained.

Clearly, the same happened with these young men.

Before this weekend, Shaun had not even remotely contemplated joining the Guard.  Since Engineer Day, he’s thinking more about it.  “I feel like I understand the National Guard a lot more.  It’s a lot more appealing to me now,” he said.  Although Shaun hasn’t decided if the Guard will be part of his future, he’s glad he can use his Engineer Day experience to help him decide.

Rolf was already considering joining the Guard, but primarily for the college benefits.   Engineer Day made up his mind, but now he’s more interested in the challenges. “I’m really looking forward to basic training now and firing some of the weapons. I was thinking about going air assault or airborne as well.”   Rolf plans on training in an MOS where he can learn a foreign language.

SFC Bowcutt shows Rolf how to operate the classic M-16A2.”

Photo taken by Maj. Lorraine Januzelli

SFC Bowcutt shows Rolf how to operate the classic M-16A2.”

“Recruiter SFC Spier helps daughter Harley adjust her harness.  Harley, 12, plans on joining an airborne unit as soon as she is old enough to join the National Guard.”

Photo taken by Maj. Lorraine Januzelli

“Recruiter SFC Spier helps daughter Harley adjust her

harness.  Harley, 12, plans on joining an airborne unit

as soon as she is old enough to join the National Guard.”

C.J., who made the three-hour trek from Vernal to Camp Williams with his recruiter SFC Wilkenson, intends on signing up after he turns 17 later this week.  His reasons for joining are closer to home.  “My father was in the Special Forces, in the 1st Group.  He went on missions all over the world while on active-duty.”  His father inspired him to serve his country and C.J. plans on joining the Special Forces as soon as possible.  He hopes to be in basic training by July.

 The impact of Engineer Day on the three youths will be long lasting.  In the course of a single day, they learned a little something extra about themselves, the strength of teamwork, and the nature of the military.  And they liked what they learned.  If these young people are the future of our National Guard, then the future almost certainly looks bright.

“Recruiters SFC Bowcutt and MSG Peterson are kept fully entertained by the young men working the LRC problem below.”

Photo taken by Maj. Lorraine Januzelli

“Recruiters SFC Bowcutt and MSG Peterson are kept fully entertained by the young men working the LRC problem below.”

Shaun on his first-ever rappel off the tower at Camp Williams

Photo taken by Maj. Lorraine Januzelli

Shaun on his first-ever rappel off the tower at

Camp Williams