Wheeler Open House For Educators Highlights Army Careers

BY SGT. DANIEL SCHROEDER 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Students in high school and college often ask them- selves, “What job do I want to have for a career?”

While some have it figured out, others seek advice from guidance counselors and faculty at their school.

To help provide students with the right information, local educators were able to tour Wheeler Army Airfield last month and ask 25th Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers questions about life in the Army.

“The purpose of visiting the CAB was to inform local educators about all the numerous benefits the Army provides and hear first hand from soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chris Nenninger, an Army recruiter. “It arms educators with the knowledge to explain to students what they saw and heard. This event developed cohesion between Army recruiters and local educators.”

The teachers toured the 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment hangar to learn about careers of flight medics, crew chiefs and pilots of both the UH-60 MEDEVAC Black Hawk and CH-47F Chinook.

“It was nice to hear the information from the soldiers,” said Tara Bagayas, a Leilehua High counselor and Pearl City native. “I did not know much about the Army before the visit. (Now) I can understand what soldiers and their children talk about.”

They also learned how soldiers better themselves technically, educationally and professionally.

“The Army allows for team building, management training, and skills to be used in their life outside the Army that civilian companies look for,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Combs. “For educational benefits, there is the G.I. Bill, tuition assistance, and most Army schools can account for college credit. The Army allows people who can’t afford college to receive financing while earning credits toward their degree. They also receive hands-on training they may not receive in the civilian world.” As the soldiers described how the Army advances them professionally, the teachers discovered educational benefits were directly related to professional growth.

“These soldiers received their degrees using tuition assistance and the GI Bill,” said Nenninger.

In addition to informing educators about benefits offered by the Army, the Honolulu Recruiting Command wanted to address any misperceptions that students or educators had about the Army.

“The students’ views of the Army are limited to fighting wars and Call of Duty,” said Stephen Goering, an education services specialist with the U.S. Army Recruiting Company in Honolulu.

“They do not see many tanks around here; all they see of the Army is helicopters. Some students do not realize the Army propels them toward the same goal they want in the civilian world.”

Bagayas often heard the same views from the students.

“Some of the students do not realize the support they can get from the Army,” she said.

After touring the hangar, the visitors toured where the soldiers call home after a long day of work.

“The soldier who showed us his room talked about his life transition from high school to Army life,” Bagayas recalled. “I know a lot of students have questions about what Army careers and the transition from civilian to military. I used to refer them to the recruiter for the information; now, I can help ease some of their concerns before referring them to the recruiters.”