Tomorrow's Miltary Begins Learning Today

Tyler's Bergfeld Park became a training ground Saturday morning for the next generation of Army recruits.  The new recruits were trained in things such as first aid, military procedures, and map reading, to help them get a head start on basic training.

Matt Mahler of Tyler admitted, "I don't want to be a drill instructor's personal teaching tool, so I'm trying to get up on my drill and ceremony."

Matt is 21, and signed up for the Army last week. He committed for six years, and admitted that the concept does make him a little bit nervous. Of course, when you sit there taking the oath," Matt says, "You think you're all cool, right? And you just think you're the coolest guy and you're all tough, but then that thought goes through your mind, what the Heck am I doing?"

Matt joined to eventually become an Apache pilot, while some other recruits came for college. Erika Ramirez is in the College First program at SFA, which allows her to go to school for two years before enlisting. Ramirez says "I don't think I would be here without the College First program because I don't think I'd be ready to go right into the army. When I learned about the program, that's when I really got interested."

Although public perception of military importance has been raised over the past year, one recruit says the importance hasn't really changed. "It's always going to be important," Mahler said. "There's always someone out there who wants to destroy the freedoms that we have, so the level of importance has not changed, American's perception of the importance has."