Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Influencers, education leaders experience National Training Center

    Influencers, education leaders experience National Training Center

    Photo By Kimberly Hackbarth | California educators learn about Army occupational specialties from Weed Army...... read more read more



    Story by Kimberly Hackbarth 

    National Training Center and Fort Irwin

    FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- Influencers and education leaders from California spent a day as a Soldier during the National Training Center and Fort Irwin’s Distinguished Visitor (DV) Immersion Tour April 28 and 29, here.

    Brig. Gen. Curtis D. Taylor, commander, NTC and Fort Irwin, said the installation conducts the tour two times a year with the intent of connecting influencers, with limited exposure to the Army, to the Soldiers who serve and the mission of the installation.

    “They won’t remember a briefing they get from me, but when they hear about all of our Army’s opportunities and what it means to serve from the young men and women in our ranks; no briefing can replicate that,” Taylor said. “That’s a take-away that will last a long time.”

    Different groups visited the installation each day which started with a ride in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from Burbank and included a combat demonstration, a meal-ready-to-eat for lunch, weapons familiarization, a static display with multiple military occupational specialties and a simulated patrol lane.

    Whitney Cummings, a comedian, writer and podcaster, attended the first day of the tour.

    “I tend to not give myself too much credit for the courage that is required for performing in front of thousands of people in such a vulnerable way,” Cummings said. “It’s terrifying to most people, to me, it’s terrifying the idea of not doing that, but I think that most comedians who do something that is ostensibly, incredibly brave [and] terrifying, other people look to, that’s how I feel about people that serve our country.”

    Cummings invited actress and comedian Hannah Stocking to attend with her.

    Together with other attendees of the event, Cummings and Stocking formed a team and learned how to enter and clear a building from 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Soldiers.

    “I’ve never done anything like this, so it was invigorating,” Stocking said. “I got to experience something I never would have gotten to experience [and] I have so much respect for Soldiers and everybody in this space.”

    For Cummings, working with the team was one of her favorite parts of the day, she said.

    “Watching the diamond formation moving towards one of the buildings was so cool because even though I didn’t necessarily know what I was doing, I feel like I took it in, but very quickly this sort of teamwork mentality comes in,” Cummings said. “I’m a comedian, I’m very lone wolf in what I do, so it was just so cool to have this wolfpack mentality come in right away.”

    On both days, guests attended a round table session with senior leaders of the installation and spouses.

    “I learned that this whole community is really supportive,” Stocking said.
    “Everybody just works as a unit, and it’s a lot of fun.”

    Christina Maggio, a teacher with Santa Paula High School, attended the second day of the Immersion Tour and said inviting educators on the tour is important.

    “If they didn’t have somebody in the military in their family, they only hear stereotypes or preconceived notions,” Maggio said. “To be here firsthand to hear about integrity, ethics, meet the leaders, be able to shake their hand and have a sit-down, round table meeting with them, I think it’s beautiful because it’s a level of transparency that you don’t see every day.”

    Maggio said the Soldiers she encountered impressed her.

    “General Taylor inspired me with his belief in his Soldiers and the validity that every Soldier has integrity and leadership skills no matter their age, gender, ethnicity and I feel that way about my students, so I see a direct path for them,” Maggio said. “Every single Soldier we met, whether it was with the ready-made meals or teaching us how to shoot a gun, everyone had what I hope my students would have: confidence, trust teamwork, all those skills that you not only want on a resume, but you want in a person that you work with because they’re valuable, they have a strong sense of self, and they have values.”

    After spending the day with Soldiers, guests on the tour left with new experiences and in some cases, new views of the military.

    “People are going to take this experience back to their districts and say, ‘If you really want what’s best for your students… you will take this motto Be All You Can Be and see the Army as a valuable pathway that they can take,” Maggio said.

    Cummings said with all the different things fighting for peoples’ attention, she is always looking to find a way to use her talent to either draw attention to a cause that means more or bring laughter to the people who deserve it.

    “To me, being able to either learn from the military, participate in any way in terms of entertaining them, or at least giving them a little bit of a day of a distraction to see silly comedians come in and try to do what they do and to be in awe of them might just be a nice break from what they deal with on a day-to-day basis,” Cummings said. “I never want to miss an opportunity to be humbled, inspired and awe-stricken.”



    Date Taken: 05.04.2023
    Date Posted: 05.04.2023 13:54
    Story ID: 444045
    Location: FORT IRWIN, CA, US
    Hometown: SANTA PAULA, CA, US

    Web Views: 60
    Downloads: 0