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Trainees James Cochran II and Matthew McCave prepare AETC Forms 341 (Demerit slips) for presentation. Both are members of Explorer Post 2868.Explorer Post 2868, the Military Career Exploring program of the 122nd Fighter Wing recently held a 4-day scenario taken from Air Force Basic Military Training.

14 youth began the program, which was based upon actual training the youth, currently in the 8th grade through high school, may receive during BMTS if they join the Air Force, Air National Guard or Air Force Reserves.

Youth were instructed in wear and care of the military uniforms, military pay and entitlements, structure of the Air Force, and personal finance, as well as how to prepare a military dormitory for inspection; and even physical training, with a one-mile run.

Youth came from the Explorer Post and Wayne High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Instructors were volunteers from the 122nd Fighter Wing and Purdue University's ROTC program; including a recent graduate who has been commissioned by the US Air Force. "The instructor team we provided these youth was tremendous," said Staff Sergeant Tony Vining of the 122nd Communications Flight, and the Exploring Program's Advisor. "These youth felt they were there. Not one of the youth ever opted to stop going forward. They took 4 days from their summer vacation and placed themselves in an environment in which they would be yelled at, have pressure placed on them to perform tasks which they never imagined would need to be done."

From the initial welcome, to a graduation parade; parts of real Basic Military Training School were there. Uniform issue, linen exchange, demerit slips (341's, as they are more often referred to) and even personal item storage were all a part of this exercise.

The project was made possible by a grant from the Olin B and Desta Schwab Foundation's PURSUITS program. "Without PURSUITS, this would not have been possible," Vining said. "This was the beginning of a project that will continue. We have funding for 2 more programs, so this was the very beginning."

Additional sessions are being planned for winter and spring. The program will be expanded to include members of the Indiana Air National Guard who will be leaving for Basic Training in the near future.

For more information on Explorer Post 2868 or this project, please contact SSgt Tony Vining at 260-747-7743.


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