Final day at the Fort

Recruits exited a bus at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri.
Recruits exited a bus at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri.

FT. LEONARD WOOD, MO (WAFF) - As I sit here, nursing my battle wounds from one day of PT and obstacle course training, I can't help but think of the real battles out there. The battle through basic training that the new Army recruits I've met will face over the coming weeks. The battle our military faces to remain #1 in a constantly evolving war landscape. And my own personal battle to convey the real story behind the U.S. Army that I've been lucky enough to see firsthand over the last couple of days.

At the obstacle course this morning, I thought I might be able to struggle through a couple of stations. That wasn't good enough for the six recruits in my squad. I was one of them, therefore I would do them all. I didn't want to let them down, but interestingly enough, they didn't want ME to let MYSELF down. With their screams of support from the sidelines, I was able to finish almost all sixteen stations within the course. I did fail a few times, and those recruits were right down on the ground doing pushups with me. It was in those moments that I realized this is what people are talking about, this is the U.S. Army.

Who deploys is slowly becoming the question of what deploys. According to the Robotic System Joint Project Office at Ft. Leonard Wood, before Iraq, the program was virtually non-existent. Today, thousands of robots deploy. The unit size can range from small, like the Recon Scout, to large, like the M160. The Recon Scout cost around $13,000. The M160 costs about $469,000. Both are put in dangerous situations instead of soldiers, making those price tags worth a soldier's life.

As for what I've learned over the last four days, I can only hope it sticks with me. Not everyone gets to see the inside of the U.S. Army. There's so much more to it than the commercials you see on TV. The people I've met, the technology I've used and the history I've learned have shaped me, and my reporting skills, in ways I never thought possible. I head home tomorrow, but thanks for following me along on this incredible journey!

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