2019-03-15 / Front Page

Youth receive dose of military life

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Spc. Ashley Fitzpatrick, Installation Support Detachment, helps Greenbrier High School honor student Cali Macisak with some rifle-readiness basics during a March 7 visit at Fort Gordon’s indoor rifle range. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Spc. Ashley Fitzpatrick, Installation Support Detachment, helps Greenbrier High School honor student Cali Macisak with some rifle-readiness basics during a March 7 visit at Fort Gordon’s indoor rifle range. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Twenty-eight area high school sophomores and juniors from Youth Leadership Columbia County (YLCC) spent their morning at Fort Gordon March 7 as part of the program’s “Military and Law Enforcement Day.”

YLCC is a program managed by the Columbia County Chamber designed to “educate through experience and enable them to take an active role in their community.

One way it achieves that is by exposing participants to different career fields and areas in the community. The visit to Fort Gordon was one of several visits to different areas of the community each month.

“It’s important for them to be exposed to Fort Gordon, because it is such a huge part of our community, and maybe they don’t think of all the opportunities – all the civilian and military jobs – there are within the military,” said Olivia Reich, YLCC coordinator, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.


Spc. Darius Ward, Installation Support Detachment, helps provide some rifle-range guidance during a March 7 visit by teens taking part in Youth Leadership Columbia County. This scene is from Fort Gordon’s indoor rifle range, with simulated weaponry and video-based targets. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Spc. Darius Ward, Installation Support Detachment, helps provide some rifle-range guidance during a March 7 visit by teens taking part in Youth Leadership Columbia County. This scene is from Fort Gordon’s indoor rifle range, with simulated weaponry and video-based targets. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Students and YLCC chaperones began their morning at Building 81101 where Lt. Col. Jason Sabovich, 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion executive officer, provided insight on cyber and military life. Students also had an opportunity to ask questions.

For 16-year-old Aniyah Bussey, hearing how the military helped Sabovich achieve success was an instant highlight of her day.

“When he talked about the degrees you can get and how it transfers not only into the military, but also into the civilian corporate world … there are so many situations where you can be successful,” said Bussey, Evans High School junior.

Following Sabovich’s brief, the group experienced a dose of military training. Students were exposed to Humvee rollover training at the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer and familiarized themselves with weapons training at the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000. They also received an up-close look – and for the more adventurous students, a taste – of Meals Ready to Eat.

It was a half-day that will likely leave long-lasting impressions on students as they return to school and navigate through future plans. For Jack Baughn, 16, Evans High School junior, the visit provided affirmation that he is on the “right track” to pursuing a military career specializing in mechanical engineering.

“The size of cyber and the military ... that was pretty surprising to me,” Baughn said. “It was awesome.”

Bussey is interested in going the cyber route.

“Specifically networking and where the (lieutenant) colonel talked about how on the offense side we’re protecting the network and making sure everybody’s protected while they’re on the network, and making sure that there are no threats on the net work,” Bussey said. “I feel like that was very useful for me and also for anybody who’s interested in cyber.”

Regardless of their anticipated career paths, Reich said she hopes the students gained clearer understanding of Fort Gordon.

“It’s so important for them to be aware of what’s happening on Fort Gordon, especially for the community with the cyber center and just learning in general about what’s happening here, because it’s such a huge part of the community,” Reich said.

YLCC is now accepting applications for its class of 2020. The program is open to sophomores and juniors in Columbia County high schools or residents of Columbia County.

To be considered, students must go through an extensive application and interview process prior to admittance.

The deadline to apply is March 28. Students of military families are encouraged to apply.

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