Thursday, August 20, 2015

ARL Greening Course Gives Civilians a Taste of Army Life

As an Army civilian, have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Soldier? Thirty-two civilians from ECBC and Army Research Laboratory (ARL) recently got a taste of Army life during ARL’s semi-annual greening course.

Five ECBC Engineering employees participated in the course: Alena Bortkiewicz, Raymond Blucher, Samuel Leppert, Joseph Maheady and Amanda Mihok.

Under the leadership of ARL senior enlisted advisor SGM Kevin Connor, the course was designed to give civilian employees insight and experience in the activities, duties and responsibilities of an Army Soldier. The week-long course included lessons on physical fitness training, basic Army knowledge, marksmanship, assembling and disassembling military weapons, weapons training, vehicles and test-driving, obstacle courses and team building. Participants even got to fly in a Black Hawk helicopter and learn about aviation operations and maintenance through the Maryland National Guard. The course concluded with a graduation ceremony.

Maheady liked the helicopter ride the best, and found sighting a rifle to be the most challenging. “It takes skill to coordinate your body with the rifle to hit the target. I can’t imagine how much harder it is when the target is firing back and moving,” he said. “The constant physical toll that wearing body armor takes on you took me by surprise. Thirty pounds doesn’t seem like a lot, but it will creep up on you real fast!”

Mihok said getting to know the Army instructors was an amazing experience. “It really put into perspective how important our jobs can be and what we do to help these people who are fighting for us. Experiencing some of the things they have to go through was awesome. It was fun, but I learned so much at the same time.”

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