Ridgecrest students get a taste of military life

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Ken Drylie

FORT IRWIN, Calif. ­— About 40 students from the Sherman E. Burroughs High School got a glimpse into Army life on a tour of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin March 19.

The students are part of the school’s career technical program. They had a chance to visit with Soldiers in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Support Squadron (RSS) motor pool, as well as a chance to learn about the U.S. Army medevac mission with the Soldiers of Charlie Company, the 2916th Aviation Battalion’s air medevac company.

Soldiers from the RSS talked with the students while explaining several of the military occupational specialties available in the Field Mechanical Maintenance career field. Soldiers introduced the students to a variety of vocational skills used to maintain Army equipment, such as welding, metal working, engine repair and vehicle maintenance. They also were given a demonstration of the Palletized Load System, or PLS.

The PLS is a logistics system used by Army units for rapid movement of all classes of supply in a tactical environment. The truck-based system uses a hydraulic “hook” on the back of the vehicle, which allows unassisted loading of cargo into trailers, containers or demountable cargo beds, also known as flatracks. In field conditions, one solider can unload the vehicle in about one minute without getting out of the cab.

Pilots and crews from Charlie Company gave the students an up-close look at a medevac Blackhawk helicopter and all the equipment they carry to respond to emergencies. While explaining the equipment they use, Soldiers talked about careers as Army pilots, aviation maintenance workers and medical crew members.

After the demonstrations, the students had the opportunity to eat at one of the post dining facilities before touring the NTC and 11th ACR Museum.