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August 6, 2013 at 11:36am

“Starting Strong”: Episode 10 - Vehicle Mechanic

"Starting Strong" Episode 10 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of goarmy.com

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE U.S. ARMY'S "ONE MOS AT A TIME" REALITY SHOW >>>

Episode 10 concludes the 10 part Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist. Joshua Johnson has a strong passion for becoming a mechanic but will a try out week in the U.S. Army on Fort Carson be enough for Joshua to overcome the distance away from home and join the U.S. Army?

This week, Starting Strong takes a look at U.S. Army Vehicle Mechanics. Joshua, a potential recruit from Campbell, MN was sent to Fort Carson, CO to see if he has what it takes to be an U.S. Army Vehicle Mechanic or "Light Wheel Mechanic". After one week of training will he become U.S. Army Strong?

"It only requires that you're mechanically curious and not afraid to get your hands a little dirty," show's host SSG Kristen King introduces the audience to this week's episode. "An army may move on its stomach, but its mission success depends on its equipment, and we've got the coolest toys in the world."

Joshua, an 18-year-old high school student from Campbell, Minnesota, had to grow up fast.

That's because he has seven brothers and sisters that were all raised by his grandmother due to his mother's alcoholism.

Joshua has always had an affinity for the mechanic profession but fears the Army because he doesn't want to move away from his family.

"I got into cars at a really young age helping my uncle with his race car, "Joshua tells the camera.  "I started working on my first car when I was 13."

Joshua's Army training experience takes place under the mentorship of Sergeant First Class Andrew Puls. Sergeant First Class Puls has 19 years of service.

His first challenge starts with a physical and mental test; climbing a massive training rock wall.

He very easily conquers his first test.

Next up, Joshua visits Fort Carson's Closed Combat Tactical Training Facility, which looks like a virtual reality playground.

"This is the world's greatest arcade with the biggest and baddest video games you'll ever see," says show's host SSG King.

Joshua trains atop a simulated tank as the gunner with literally video screens surrounding him on all sides.

"This is the best video game I've ever played," Joshua says. "Nothing compares to that."

After his virtual reality simulation, Joshua heads to the motor pool where military vehicle repairs take place.

Army Vehicle Mechanics can rebuild a geared hub and replace a half shaft in just 30 minutes.

Joshua quickly catches on and appears to seamlessly blend in with the rest of his battle buddies.

The next mission for Joshua is attempting to retrieve a damaged vehicle from a possible hot zone in a simulated Afghan village.

His mentor, SFC Puls stresses the importance of there being nothing in a vehicle worth a loss of life.

His last stop takes him to the NHRA Top Fuel Nationals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to meet a former National Guardsmen and Army 63B, Shane Boyington.

Shane works for the FRAM Air Filter Top Fuel Dragster team.

"It has been my childhood dreams to work on this stuff and I wouldn't be doing it today if it wasn't for the army.

Joshua gets hands on experience taking apart and putting together the engine block of an 8,000 horsepower dragster that actually reaches 306 mph in just 3.98 seconds.

After his full hands on experience and a brief message of support from his grandma, who raised him, it becomes the time for the decision of Starting Strong's last military-reality show participant.

Joshua does decide to join the U.S. Army and is even sworn in to service in front of thousands of fans at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

What a memorable way to end one show's tenure and to start the tenure of Joshua's military career.

FOLLOW UP: Spc Joshua Johnson is currently a 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic currently serving with the 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart, GA.

BONUS: Warrior Forge ROTC 2013 at JBLM coverage

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 1

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 2

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 3

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 4

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 5

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 6

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 7

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 8

Filed under: Army News, Training, Video,

July 23, 2013 at 10:17am

“Starting Strong”: Episode 8 - Civil Affairs Specialist

"Starting Strong" Episode 8 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of goarmy.com

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE U.S. ARMY'S "ONE MOS AT A TIME" REALITY SHOW >>>

Episode 8 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - examines what it takes to make it as a Civil Affairs Specialist. Alana Mingay has strong ties to disaster relief with the Peace Corps, but will that and a tryout week in the U.S. Army on Fort Bragg be enough for her to decide to join the U.S. Army?

This week, Starting Strong takes a look at U.S. Army Civil Affairs Specialists. Mingay, a potential recruit from Marquette, Mich., is sent to Fort Bragg, N.C. to see if she has what it takes to be a U.S. Army Civil Affairs Specialist, or "Warrior Diplomat."

After one week of training, will she become U.S. Army Strong?

"Around the world, these highly trained soldiers are the link between the Army and local civilians," said the show's host, Staff Sgt. Kristen King, when introducing the audience to this week's episode. "They assess political conditions, coordinate aid and win hearts and minds for the Army mission."

Mingay, a 33-year-old grad student who has worked with the Peace Corps and the Crisis Corps, has a passion for disaster relief but worries about the combat aspect of the military.

Read more...

Filed under: Army News, Training, Video,

July 18, 2013 at 4:59pm

No Surprise: Sgt. Kyle Burns earns FORSCOM Kieth L. Ware Award

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, 7th Infantry Division commanding general, presented the award to Burns at the division headquarters on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Spc. Glen Shackley

We watch a lot of Sgt. Kyle Burns's videos. It's our job. Thankfully, Burns makes our job enjoyable. The broadcast journalist with 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, earned second place in the FORSCOM Kieth L. Ware Award for the category of Deployed TV News Report, July 18. According to Spc. Glen Shackley, a journalist with the 7th Infantry Division, Burns plans to use the award as a teaching tool, to encourage his soldiers to strive for perfection.

Let's look at some of Sgt. Kyle Burns's work:

July 16, 2013 at 11:02am

Reviewing "Starting Strong": Episode 7 - U.S. Army Infantryman

"Starting Strong" episode 7 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of goarmy.com

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE U.S. ARMY'S "ONE MOS AT A TIME" REALITY SHOW >>>

Episode 7 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - examines what it takes to make it as an U.S. Army infantryman. Jeremy Navarette has strong ties within a military family, but will that - and a tryout week with an Army unit on Joint Base Lewis-McChord - be enough to convince him to enlist?

This week, Starting Strong takes a look at the U.S. Army infantry. Navarette, a potential recruit from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is sent to JBLM to see if he has what it takes to be a Soldier in the infantry. After one week of training, will he become U.S. Army Strong?

"It's been said the most powerful weapon in the U.S. Army is the Infantry; he's the backbone of the Army," the show's host, Staff Sgt. Kristen King says when introducing the audience to this week's episode. "He has to defend our country during peace time and defeat the enemy during war time."

Navarette, a 22-year-old outdoorsman who works at a sporting goods retail store, wants an opportunity to see if he should leave the comfort of his parents' home.

Read more...

July 9, 2013 at 10:19am

Reviewing "Starting Strong": Episode 6 - ROTC training

"Starting Strong" episode 6 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of goarmy.com

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE U.S. ARMY'S "ONE MOS AT A TIME" REALITY SHOW >>>

Episode 6 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - examines what it takes to make it through Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) training. Rose Fox, a possible ROTC cadet about to enter college, gets to first try out a week in the U.S. Army with ROTC training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Fox, a potential recruit from South Highlands, Calif. was sent to JBLM to see if she has what it takes to be an Army officer. After a week of training, will she decide to become U.S. Army Strong?

"Leadership, it means causing others to do great things," said the show's host, Staff Sgt. Kristen King, as she introduces the audience to this week's episode. "Whether it's taking a hill or freeing a nation, that's what being an officer in the U.S. Army is all about."

Fox, an 18-year-old expert gymnast, wants a good, stable job and education benefits. Her parents fully support the decision to enlist, and actually talk at length about the education benefits that the Army could provide for their daughter.

Read more...

July 1, 2013 at 11:04am

Reviewing "Starting Strong": Episode 5 - Combat Engineer/Sapper, Part 2

"Starting Strong" episode 4 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of goarmy.com

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE U.S. ARMY'S "ONE MOS AT A TIME" REALITY SHOW >>>

Episode 5 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - is still tailing Frank Adams, a potential recruit from Edison, N.J., at Ft. Bragg, N.C. as he discovers what it takes to be a combat engineer, or sapper. Will the 23-year-old landscaper enlist and become Army Strong or heed the warnings of his parents and go back home?

"The combat engineer or sapper is one of the most physically demanding specialties in the U.S. Army," show host Staff Sgt. Kristen King said in a clip from last week's episode. "Last time, our prospective recruit found out that the road to becoming a sapper is long and rough."

After reviewing the ups and downs of Adams' first experience as a sapper, this week's episode shifts right into the next phase of the needed skills for the MOS: water operations.

Last week, Adams struggled and couldn't complete his poncho raft - used to transport materials during a water crossing - on time, and his battle buddies paid the price with a heavy dose of flutter kick exercises.

Read more...

Filed under: Video, Special Report,

June 25, 2013 at 9:19am

Reviewing "Starting Strong": Episode 4 - Combat Engineer/Sapper

"Starting Strong" episode 4 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of goarmy.com

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE U.S. ARMY'S "ONE MOS AT A TIME" REALITY SHOW >>>

Episode 4 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - shifts away from Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week, but it sure doesn't lose any firing power.  That's because explosives and extreme conditioning is just the standard for an Army sapper. Will this week's contestant become U.S. Army Strong?

This week, "Starting Strong" follows Frank Adams, a potential recruit from Edison, N.J., as he visits Ft. Bragg, N.C. to see if he has what it takes to be a combat engineer, or sapper.

"For an Army to advance, obstacles must be cleared," said the show's host, Staff Sgt. Kristen King. "That means blowing up defenses, knocking down walls and clearing mine fields."

Adams, a 23-year-old landscaper, wants a career full of action, challenges and camaraderie.

Read more...

Filed under: Video, Engineers,

June 22, 2013 at 1:56pm

Video: How military vote in Washington state

U.S. Air Force photo: Tech. Sgt. Raheem Moore

Every November, thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines take a moment while on the "Frontlines of Freedom" and ponder what the hell is happening back home during Election Day. Many of those serving our nation in uniform will have gone through the complicated process of registering to vote from overseas, navigated the confusing and time consuming twists and turns necessary to obtain an absentee ballot, and then gone the extra mile to mail that ballot back to their home state. Some servicemembers will skip the process due to a number of reasons, including a lack of knowledge of the procedures.

In Washington state, the Office of the Secretary of State is trying to make it easier for military living in the state to vote. It has created a nifty video aimed at educating military members on the process.

The video discusses the history of moving Washington's primary elections earlier to aid service members, logistical challenges of sending and receiving ballots in remote locations, voting innovations pioneered by the Office of Secretary of State, and information on registering and updating voter registration information.

Check out the "Serving Those Who Serve - A Guide to Military Voting in washington State" video below. It's pretty slick, although it screams for a rockin' soundtrack. We suggest Titus Andronicus's "A More Perfect Union," which mixes Abraham Lincoln quotes, Harriet Beecher Stowe verses and homage to Bruce Springsteen. Launch that video below before launching the tax video. It's the perfect union.

Filed under: Deployment, Education, Video,

June 18, 2013 at 11:02am

Best gunner team battles on JBLM to end June 21

What company will take home the Sentinel Cup Friday? Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Sentinels of the 502nd Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, 7th Infantry Division are competing against one another for the title of "best gunner team" at a MK19 range on Joint Base Lewis McChord. The coveted Sentinel Cup will be award to the winning company Friday, June 21. Enjoy sound bites from Sgt. 1st Class Fletcher Mansfield, Spc. Kevin Moody and Spc. Alexander Conrad in the video below.

June 18, 2013 at 8:17am

Reviewing "Starting Strong": Episode 3 - Air and Missile Defense at JBLM

"Starting Strong" episode 3 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of goarmy.com

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE U.S. ARMY'S "ONE MOS AT A TIME" REALITY SHOW

Episode 3 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - may have aired on Father's Day, but that didn't stop it from highlighting a female recruit. This week's episode shows some of the essential functions of an Air and Missile Defense (AMD) crewmember (14S) as camera and crew on Joint Base Lewis-McChord follow Courtney Strange to see if she has the skills and desire to be Army Strong.

"An Army on the ground has to defend against an attack from the air," the show's host, Staff Sgt. Kristen King, said as she explained why an air and missile defense MOS exists.

Strange, a 22-year-old newlywed waitress from Columbia, Md., wants a good, stable job so she can raise a family.

"I think in joining the Army, I would learn a new trade and further my education," she said.

Her husband is concerned about his new wife joining the Army and potentially getting hurt, but he supports her.

Read more...

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