Teens get taste of military life at JBLM



Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk


Posted on April 11, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 11 at 6:00 PM

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- They're in the Army now - at least for the weekend.

More than 300 high school JROTC cadets from Washington and Oregon are spending four days at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Every spring the base hosts the students as part of the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge. They sleep in the barracks, wake up early for physical training and eat in the mess hall.

Friday they went through the obstacle course known as the "Confidence Course."

Staff Sgt. John Ferguson said the weekend can help a teen decide if the military would work for them.

"It's that gut check, they've got to get past that gut check," said Ferguson.

Kentridge High School junior Lauren Cox enjoyed her time of base. She said her family thinks she's crazy for wanting to be a search and rescue diver for the Coast Guard.

"I want to challenge myself," said Cox. "I want to make something of my life."

Andrew Stone's family is also worried about his career choice. When he graduates from Kentwood High School in June, he's start boot camp for the US Marine Corps.

He's aware of the risks. The U.S. fought two wars during most of his life.

That hasn't scared him away from joining the military.

"It doesn't matter to me. I'd rather enlist in a war time because that means you are needed the most," said Stone. "You'd get more out of me."