FORT CAVAZOS, Texas – Educators and influencers participated in a tour Aug. 22-23 here. The tour included various demonstrations, experiences, and opportunities available to service members to inform potential recruits about what to expect in military service.
During the tour, guests witnessed a cavalry demonstration, hands-on experiences with static displays, and a visit to a military airfield. Additionally, guests visited the Fort Cavazos People First Center, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, and viewed a military police working dog demonstration.
The Soldier Development Center was a highlight of the tour, where educators learned that service members can pursue a full-time or part-time military career, and still enhance themselves through diverse experiences, while having access to opportunities for personal growth and skill development.
Tour guides emphasized that, when joining the military, recruits receive more than just a paycheck. Military installations like Fort Cavazos and others offer unique education benefits and career opportunities that can transfer to the civilian sector.
Sheri Buono, the education services officer for the Fort Cavazos Soldier Development Center, explained the importance of a service member’s Joint Service Transcript. This transcript documents all military training a soldier receives throughout their service.
“What soldiers don’t realize is when they walk out of Advance Individual Training, their joint services transcript is being added to every time they complete something,” Buono said. “Even coming out of Advanced Individual Training, if they were to take that JST and send it to schools for evaluation, depending on how that Military Occupational Specialty matches with the degree plan, in some cases they can be a third of the way done with that degree already.”
The tour emphasized the Army’s focus on developing leaders and retaining soldiers while ensuring they are aware of available opportunities. The Montgomery GI Bill, or Post 9-11 Bill, is a valuable resource for soldiers who have served for at least two years, providing financial support for education, training programs, and housing.
Command Sgt. Maj Stephen Henderson, the command sergeant major of the 5th Recruiting Brigade in San Antonio, Texas, highlighted the Army’s shift in mindset, emphasizing the support provided to soldiers and their families in utilizing the GI Bill for higher education.
“The old traditional path was joining the Army, and when you are done, you have the GI Bill to go to college,” Henderson said. “We completely changed that mindset to join the Army and get your degree while you’re in, and what you are now allowed to do is take that GI Bill and transfer it to your dependent or either your spouse or children to use.”
Following their visit to Fort Cavazos, the group expressed that they received a deeper understanding of the educational and training prospects provided to service members in the Army. They left equipped with knowledge to enlighten potential recruits about the enlisted experience.
“There are far more career opportunities within the Army and ones that are highly transferable to civilian life than I ever imagined,” said Dan Fishman, CEO of Choose to Succeed. “I left with the sense there is likely a good fit job for many students out there and a need to help them better understand all the options if they were to join the Army.”