By Sgt. David G. Bruce
Indiana National Guard
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – The Indiana National Guard continues to excel in recruiting by creating outside-the-box approaches to reach potential applicants. One such technique is hosting a "Cyclone Adventure."
The Cyclone Adventure is an annual-recruiting event conducted by the 38th Infantry Division to demonstrate the many positions and opportunities that applicants could be a part of once enlisted. This year the event was held Sept. 6-7, 2008, at Camp Atterbury.
Sergeant Major Michael Lake, the operations sergeant major for the 38th ID, said this is the third year that the 38th ID has held this event. Lake added that the recruiters have reported 10-12 percent of the applicants that attend the Cyclone Adventure make the decision to enlist in the Indiana Army National Guard.
"This is really command-based recruiting. Feedback from the recruiters is that it works; it helps them get people into the Guard," said Lake. "It's a partnership, the team- up between the commands and recruiting command. It's a good mesh of what we can do as a team," Lake added.
The events for this year's Cyclone Adventure included rappelling from a tower, paintball room clearing operations, weapons familiarizations at a live-fire range, and navigating a leadership obstacle course where the applicants were divided into teams.
Static displays showed applicants the equipment used by the Indiana National Guard: ambulances for the medical personnel; a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for aviation personnel; and a towed 155-mm Howitzer and target acquisition radar, displayed by field artillery Soldiers.
Staff Sergeant Brandon M. Roell, a counterintelligence/human intelligence Soldier with the 38th ID, said they set up a mock tactical operations center for the applicants so they could see how decisions were made to send to maneuver units.
"The staff officers and staff non-commissioned officers would use this area for a briefing room," said Roell. "This is where they would get the information that would be prepared by intel analysts," he added.
Roell said this serves as a recruiting tool to showcase military intelligence and various specializations in that field.
The idea is for participants to gain a clear understanding of the opportunities in the Indiana Army National Guard through interaction with Soldiers.
Kyle R. Lewis, 18, from North Central High School in Indianapolis, had the opportunity to rappel from the tower. This was a significant moment for Lewis.
"I conquered my fear of heights," he said. "I even tried to go down upside down, but my fingers got caught when I tried to position the ropes, but the belay man had me so it was cool," he added.
Lewis is considering either the medical or artillery field when he joins the National Guard. The displays and Soldiers helped him narrow his choices, he said.
"I liked getting the chance to meet Guard members because they are serving our country," said Lewis.
The Cyclone Adventure also helped Mark E. Neal, 17, from North Central High School in Indianapolis make the decision to enlist.
Neal said that he was interested before from talking to recruiters, but attending Cyclone Adventure cemented that decision.
"I liked what the Soldiers told me about the Guard," he said. "I really liked the rappelling tower and going through the paintball course," he said. "I wasn't able to spend much time at the howitzer, but I'm considering artillery or infantry," he added.
Neal plans to attend the upcoming Guard Experience recruiting event and recommends Cyclone Adventure to his peers in high school.
Sgt. Margaret L. Watson, a recruiter, said the greatest challenge in conducting the Cyclone Adventure is getting the applicants to Camp Atterbury.
"It's hard for a high school student to get up early to be at a recruiting office at 6 a.m.," said Watson. "The applicants that show up are dedicated to get as much experience as possible out of this event," she added
Watson said the Soldiers from 38th ID were very positive and are great assets to help the recruiters be successful.
"I think by them having this event, it is an investment in our future and that of the Indiana Army National Guard," said Watson.