Shindig Before Service

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

It seemed like any other pool party, but for the men and women attending it was their last party together for a while. Saturday was a sendoff party before basic training for recruits in the Texas Army National Guard.

"They're fixing to ship off to basic training and in doing so we just wanted to throw a little party for them today and give them a send off for their next adventure," said Master Sgt. Mark Weedon of the Texas Army National Guard.

Weedon says before basic training, soldiers in Texas must complete a Recruit Sustainment Program or RSP that was designed to equip them with basic soldier skills and prepare them for basic training.

"We give them a crash course in basic training. We start training them on some weapons qualifications, some map reading skills, some communication skills, how to recognize rank, react to an officer," said Weedon.

The summer months are the busiest months for soldiers to ship. Since completing RSP, these soldiers say they are ready for the challenges ahead.

"It's going to take a lot of hard work, but I think I'll get through it and I'm excited," said Alysha Forrest, a recruit.

"After being in RSP for a month, it's a relief to finally actually go and get it over with. I'm so nervous about it, but I'm excited at the same time," said Anthony Joiner, recruit.

"You have to be motivated and know that you can do it," said Amanda Escobedo, a recruit.

And they have support all around; some soldiers that recently finished basic training came to the send off to offer advice.

"You have to have mental toughness. Then if you make it through the first two weeks then it's pretty much downhill from there," said Steven Trevino, soldier.

"Drink lots of water and make lost of friends and listen to what your drill sergeants say," said Devin Guilliams, a soldier.

Many of the recruits will be shipping out in the next few weeks, but at least they had one last shindig before their service to our nation.


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