Day 3: Foreign soldiers and new recruits

Ft. Leonard Wood processes about 14,000 recruits a year.
Ft. Leonard Wood processes about 14,000 recruits a year.

FT. LEONARD WOOD, MO (WAFF) - What a whirlwind of a day! I started out my morning at Ft. Leavenworth, and I'm typing up this blog from Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. To sum up today, though, it was all about the soldier, both foreign and American.

I've been talking all week about the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth. In the late 1800's, the school started taking international students, something that still happens today. Over 140 countries have sent soldiers to the school over the years, and those countries are selected by the U.S. State Department. The department actually pays for soldiers from other countries to attend, although some countries do pay for themselves. My big question was, why would America pay to educate other countries' soldiers? Turns out, the department views it as a way to build multinational relations. We got the chance to talk to both the German and Australian International Liaison officers. They were asked what the biggest difference between their country and America was when it comes to the military. They said Americans were much more patriotic and willing to support the troops, but come on, we already knew that!

After a four hour bus ride through the rolling hills of Missouri, we made it to Ft. Leonard Wood. The post is huge! It's around 98 miles and reminds me a lot of Redstone Arsenal, very spread out. It was even built around the same time as Redstone, just a few years before it. Tonight, we had dinner in the DFAC. (See, I'm catching on with my military lingo!) Around 8 p.m., a bus full of new recruits rolled up to begin processing into the Army. What an experience that was to watch. I had scenes from Full Metal Jacket running through my mind, but it was nothing like that, although there was some yelling from drill sergeants. The recruits could use their phones to call back home and say these three lines only, "I have arrived at Ft. Leonard Wood. I am safe. I will call you when I can." We had the chance to talk to the drill sergeants beforehand, and they said it would amaze us to see how the recruits would transform over the next ten weeks into people who would be ready to defend our country.

Speaking of recruits, we're getting up at 0400 to do PT with them. Yes, me doing physical training. This could end badly. You'll probably want to check that out for a laugh tomorrow. I've posted some videos on my Facebook page. You can find it by searching Lauren Morrison WAFF.

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