For most high school kids summer vacation is just that, a time away from school to relax and have fun. But for some kids, it is a time to prepare for the future. And that future is with the U.S. Army in basic training.
This is not some military boot camp. It’s real Army basic training.
The program is called the alternate training program.
“At seventeen they are able to enlist in the United States military and then they can do the alternative training program and go to basic training between their junior and senior year,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Engman with the U.S. Army.
They can then do their advanced individual training after their senior year of high school.
William Miller a senior in Shawnee enlisted in the program last summer and wasn’t really sure what to expect.
“It’s not as hard as you think, especially since I went in the middle of the pandemic hitting,” said Miller. “There is quite a bit of running, and you get yelled at a lot. It’s pretty much what you might see in a movie.”
Miller went to boot camp in North Carolina and said despite the humidity it was a great experience and he met a lot of people, but he was nervous going into the experience.
For those up to the challenge this could lead to some great things.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for kids. It definitely gives them the foundation and starts them off in a career at a young age,” said Engman. “There’s a lot of opportunities for student loan repayment to help further their education after they get back from training and enroll in college.”
Not everyone that goes through the program pursues a career in the military. Some like Miller use it to learn skills to him pursue his goal of becoming a mechanic.
The program is for males and females. It is 10 weeks long and requires the normal physical and testing to get into the military, as well as some documents from the school. However once enlisted participants receive active duty pay, for the time they are in basic training.