A Day in the Life of a Soldier

December 20, 2011

Story Highlights

  • ARL Civilians participated in recent Greening Course that gave them the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a Soldier.

Thirty-one Civilians throughout the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) participated in the second 2011 Greening Course that was held Nov. 15-18. The course allowed Army Civilians the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a Soldier.

Organized and hosted by Sgt. Maj. Christopher Harris and Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Currie, the four-day event was held on Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) and the Edgewood area. Training activities included land navigation, weapon simulation, preliminary marksmanship, disassembling and assembling an M-16/M4/M9 weapon, track and wheeled vehicle testing - to include driving the vehicles around the test track, combat training, room clearing procedures and proper handling of weapons. Course participants were also put through rigorous physical fitness training and concluded the week with a formal graduation ceremony.

"It's great when as a Soldier you have the opportunity to not only work beside a wide variety of very intelligent people, but to have them show genuine interest in the time and training it takes to make a Soldier," said Sgt. 1st Class Lafonte Bennett who participated as one of the instructors.

Let's hear what some of the participants had to say...

"The Greening Course was an invaluable experience that gave the Civilian participants a new appreciation and understanding of the preparation and training that a Soldier goes through on a daily basis," said Raymond Brennan, from ARL's materials manufacturing technology branch, APG. "This course helped personalize the experience for the U.S. Army Civilians who continue to conduct research in support of their customer - the Warfighter."

"I found the building clearing scenario to be particularly beneficial," said Chad Kessens, from ARL's autonomous systems division, APG . "Learning how to move and think like a Soldier in a realistic scenario gave me a new appreciation for and perspective on the problems I am seeking to solve."

"I learned firsthand what these brave men and women go through as part of their daily routine," said Paul Munya, Human Research & Engineering Directorate, TACON (Tactical control) field element, Warren, Mich. "They demonstrated this with a lot of good-natured humor too - especially Sgt. Maj. Harris. And, during the room clearing maneuvers, I got to see how a split second decision can result in the loss of life for yourself or a member of your squad. I gained a whole new respect for our men and women in uniform."

"If I had to choose just one aspect of the course that I really enjoyed it would be the team building and networking opportunities that this course promoted," said F. Robb Altenburg, ARL's safety and occupational health officer, APG. "Among us, it cultivated a sense of teamwork and camaraderie and left me with a re-energized sense of purpose.

"The experience of being a Soldier 'in training' for only a few days and experiencing what each Soldier must endure, I now have more respect, admiration and awe for each Soldier who must stand strong in the battlefield either at home or abroad," said Nicole Fox, Army Research Office, coordinator for the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program.

"I have also taken the Civilian creed to heart as well as to my daily mission as I too work for the Army to support the same mission, to defend the same constitution and to serve our nation and our Army. I am an Army Civilian," said Fox.

Bennett said the Greening Course has always been a great experience.

"It's hard to put into words the way you feel when you are part of the development of something that helps Soldiers everywhere," said Bennett.


Last Update / Reviewed: December 20, 2011