25th CAB Welcomes Hawaiian Educators

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WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – Students in high school and college often ask themselves, “What job do I want to have for a career?” While some have it figured out, others seek advice from guidance counselors and faculty at their school.
To provide students with the right guidance, local educators were able to tour Wheeler Army Airfield May 6, and ask 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers questions about life in the Army.
“The purpose of visiting the CAB was to inform local educators of all the numerous benefits the Army provides and hear first hand from Soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chris Nenninger, an Army recruiter from the recruiting center in Honolulu, a native from San Antonio, Texas. “It arms educators with the knowledge to explain to students what they saw and heard. This event developed cohesion between Army recruiters and local educators.”
The educators toured the 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment hangar to learn about Army careers as a flight medic, crew chief and pilot for both the UH-60 MEDEVAC Black Hawk and CH-47F Chinook.
“It was nice to hear the information from the Soldiers,” said Tara Bagayas, a counselor with Leilehua High School and native of Pearl City. “I did not know much about the Army before the visit. [Now] I can understand what Soldiers and their children talk about.”
The educators also learned how Soldiers better themselves technically, educationally and professionally.
“The Army allows for team building, management training, and skills to be used in their life outside the Army that civilian companies look for,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Combs, a CH-47 crew chief assigned to Company B, 3-25 AVN, 25th CAB, originally from Cambridge, Ohio. “For educational benefits, there is the G.I. Bill, Tuition Assistance, and most Army Schools can account for college credit. The Army allows people who can’t afford college to receive financing while earning credits towards their degree. They also receive hands on training they may not receive in the civilian world.”
As the Soldiers of 3-25 AVN described how the Army progresses them professionally, the educators discovered educational benefits were directly related to professional growth.
“These Soldiers received their degrees using tuition assistance and GI Bill,” said Nenninger. “Having these Soldiers talk about their experiences translates from what the recruiter says to Soldiers telling their lives in the Army.”
In addition to informing educators about benefits offered by the Army, the Honolulu Recruiting Command wanted to address any misperceptions that students or educators had about the Army.
“The students’ views of the Army are limited to fighting wars and Call of Duty,” said Stephen Goering, an education services specialist with the U.S. Army Recruiting Company in Honolulu, originally from Tacoma, Wash. “They do not see many tanks around here; all they see of the Army is helicopters. Some students do not realize the Army propels them towards the same goal they want in the civilian world.”
Bagayas often heard the same views from the students. “Some of the students do not realize the support they can get from the Army.”
After touring the hangar, the educators received a tour of where the Soldiers call home after a long day of work.
“The Soldier who showed us his room talked about his life transition from high school to Army life,” Bagayas said. “I know a lot of students have questions about what Army careers and the transition from civilian to military. I used to refer them to the recruiter for the information; now, I can help ease some of their concerns before referring them to the recruiters.”
With the insight and knowledge from talking with the Soldiers, educators can better inform students on what the Army can do for them.