FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Army is out to find the next generation of leaders.
On October 12, Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division hosted its second Army Career Day. This event invited 700 high school students from 15 school districts in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties to explore potential careers.
The 10th Mountain Division’s Information Operation Officer Lieutenant Colonel Marc Cleveland led the event at the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. He explained how it aimed to open options to local students.
“The military is more than just being an infantry soldier,” LTC Cleveland said. “It’s about leadership and teamwork and positivity. We wanted to introduce students to opportunities that exist so that they can make an informed decision about their future.”
Students spoke with soldiers from every branch and specialty that serves within the 10th Mountain Division. This included the 10th Combat Aviation Unit, which brought in all helicopters and unmanned aircraft.
Corporal Brandon Reyes, who serves in the 6-6 Calvary Unmanned Aircraft System Detachment expressed that events like this are crucial to help students enlist in the military.
“It’s important to get the kids interested to see what we do,” CPL Reyes stated. “To kind of humanize that process.”
Additionally, considering Fort Drum’s connection to the North Country, local educators also agreed that military careers are good options.
“What a cool array of jobs,” Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Stephen Todd exclaimed at the event. “As you walk around here and you see the things that the kids are getting to put their hands on, climb into and learna bout. Every possible job under the sun you could do while also serving your country in the military.”
“Our military needs good people,” Todd added.
This event guided students to careers on the ground and in the air, while also helping to drive Army recruitment.
The 10th Mountain Division hosted its first Army Career Day in May 2023, where students saw live aircraft and military demonstrations. They similarly also spoke to soldiers of different specialties.
With military recruitment low, this event, and those alike, have helped to drive enlistments among high schoolers, according to Sergeant 1st Class Ernest Matson, who is an Army recruiter in Watertown.
“Yes, the numbers are down slightly. But that’s another reason why we do this community outreach,” SFC Matson explained. “They can get Fort Drum as a station, actually. So it’s very important to know you can get into a position that you like, working in your backyard. It’s very neat to have that opportunity.”
All the reasons why, these events will continue in and around Fort Drum, LTC Cleveland added.
“We want people to be able to come to Fort Drum and become part of the community so that those kids grow up around the military, are comfortable with the military and maybe someday want to join the community,” LTC Cleveland expressed.
For more information on Army enlistment in the North Country visit the U.S. Army Recruiting Center in Watertown, or call 315-782-7140.