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					New drill sergeant prepares new Soldiers
Sgt. Karima Turner
134th Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP DENALI, Alaska—
Known as the Last Frontier, it’s
not surprising at the kinds of
people who are drawn to Alaska;
adventurous, gregarious and
trailblazing to name a few.
     It’s also not surprising at the
kinds of Soldiers the Alaska Army
National Guard enlists. They
can easily be described as true
Alaskan’s; the kinds of people you
want fighting for your State and
Nation, the kinds of people you are
proud to call Artic Warriors.
                                                                               Photo by: Sgt. Karima Turner, 134th Public Affairs Detachment
     One Soldier in particular
                                       Alaska Army National Guard drill sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Bonnie Cochran
has taken hold of this spirit and      marches her new recruits during a previous Recruiting and Retention,
become the first female Drill           Recruit Sustainment Program drill.
Sergeant in the Alaska Army
National Guard.                        new experience for me,” Cochran        soldiers is.
     Sgt. 1st Class Bonnie Cochran,    said. “I’ve always wanted to be a          “As an NCO, I couldn’t
a resident of Palmer, originally       drill sergeant because to me a drill   possibly think of anything
came from Nebraska where she           sergeant is the ultimate role model    greater or better than being a drill
was a member of the Nebraska           with ultimate responsibility. I’ve     sergeant, I taught PLDC (Primary
Army National Guard. Cochran           talked to people who’ve retired        Leadership Development Course)
served as an instructor for what       from the service, and they can still   for four years at an NCO (Non-
was then called the Primary            recall their drill sergeants’ name,    Commissioned Officer’s) academy,
Leadership Development Course,         to have that great of an impact on     fulltime, and this is even BETTER,
and moved to Alaska in 2003 with       someone is incredible.”                I love training Soldiers.”
hopes of new job opportunities and         Although training soldiers is          “The greatest thing you can
experiences.                           not completely new to Cochran,         teach someone in the Army is how
     “This has definitely been a        training civilians to become                               See Drill, page 5
                                                        1
Alaska Army National Guard Soldier Ambassador
of Afghanistan, says Ambassador for Afghanistan
Sergeant Karima Turner
                                                                                                                      military children here [at
134th Public Affairs Detachment
                                                                                                                      Central Middle School] we
                                                                                                                      decided to bring him here,
ANCHORAGE, Alaska—From
                                                                                                                      since Ambassador Jawad
May 2006 to May 2007, Staff
                                                                                                                      wanted the opportunity to
Sergeant Amber Meyers, a supply
                                                                                                                      thank the military and their
sergeant in the Alaska Army
                                                                                                                      family members for their
National Guard was deployed to
                                                                                                                      service.”
Afghanistan, not to be a supply
                                                                                                                          “I’m here in Alaska
sergeant, but for Mortuary Affairs.
                                                                                                                      primarily to convey my
    Meyers, now a teacher for
                                                                                                                      gratitude to Americans who
Central Middle School, saw first-                       Photo by: Sgt. Karima Turner, 134th Public Affairs Detachment
                                                                                                                      are helping Afghanistan and
hand how difficult deployments                  Staff Sgt. Amber Meyers, 297th                                         that helping and assistance
could be. As an eighth-grade                   Support Battalion shakes hands with Said
                                               Jawad,ambassador for Afghanistan.
                                                                                                                      includes the military but also
social studies teacher, she knew
                                                                                                                      the people who are supporting
the importance of helping children
                                               Meyers said.                                                           Afghanistan,” Jawad said.
understand why their parents
                                                   Meyers said it was important                                 “For me it’s very important to
were deploying and educate them
                                               for the kids to get the opportunity                              talk to the kids especially those
about the country their parents are
                                               to speak to the Ambassador for                                   who may have a member of the
deployed to or would deploy to.
                                               Afghanistan because it would help family serving in Afghanistan and
    “Here at central one quarter of
                                               them understand how important                                    understand what their parents are
our student population is children
                                               their parents’ jobs are.                                         doing in Afghanistan, what is going
of Air Force Members, and a lot of
                                                   “It’s wonderful that the Alaska on there, why is the mission so
their family members have been
                                               World Affairs Council was able to                                important.”
to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Kuwait,”
                                                 bring the Ambassador to Central                                     Jawad said that Meyers is a
                                                 Middle School,” Meyers said.                                   prime example of the significance
   134 th PUBLIC AFFAIRS DETACHMENT
  CAMP DENALI, FORT RICHARDSON, AK               “It brings in someone who they                                 of the US Army and the Provincial
             Commander of the Alaska
                                                 can ask questions and maybe get Reconstruction Teams (PRT’s) in
               Army National Guard               some answers to some general                                   Afghanistan.
            Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus
                                                 things that their wanting to know                                   “She served in Afghanistan, in a
                 Commander of the
          134th Public Affairs Detachment
                                                 answers to.”                                                   very difficult part of Afghanistan,”
                Capt. Dwayne Wirfel                   In November, Lise Falskow,                                Jawad said. “But now that she’s
      134TH PUBLIC AFFAIRS DETACHMENT STAFF      Executive Director for The                                     back here, she’s an ambassador of
                   Senior editor                 Alaska World Affairs Council                                   Afghanistan; she talks to the people
              1st Lt. Amy B. Slinker
        Non-Commisioned Officer in Charge
                                                 invited Said Jawad, Ambassador about what the country about what
                 Associate editor                for Afghanistan to Alaska as a                                 life in Afghanistan is like. Building
               Sgt. Karima Turner
                                                 guest speaker.                                                 these kinds of bridges is very
         Public Affairs Specialist/Journalist
              Spc. Margaret J. Moonin
                                                      “I invited the Ambassador                                 important if you want to win the
                                                 to come to Alaska to speak for                                 war on terror, if you want to get rid
                Broadcast Journalist
                 Sgt. Marc McNab                 the World Affairs Council, and                                 of the threat of the bad guys, it’s
                                                 we’re sending him to Juneau                                    not all just military, it’s the people;
    TO SEE THE ONLINE VERSION GO TO:
          www.ak-prepared.com/DMVA               also,” Falskow said. “I’d heard                                the peoples diplomacy, and Amber
   TO SUBMIT PHOTOS AND STORY IDEAS              that Amber was a teacher that had is playing an important role, to
                     E-mail:
           karima.turner@alaska.gov or           been deployed to Afghanistan,                                  bring the message of Afghanistan
           maggie.vinzant@alaska.gov             and since there are so many                                    back to Alaska.”
                                                                       2
Spc. Margaret J. Moonin
134th Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP DENALI, Alaska—
National Guard Soldiers and
their families attended the
Annual Alaska Army National
Guard Joint Forces Headquarters
(JFHQ) Christmas Party Sunday,
December 2, 2007 at the Armory
on Fort Richardson.
    The event stared off with a
Family Assistance and Family
Programs briefing as well
the promotion ceremony of
newly pinned Master Sgt. Lisa
Halliday.
    After the briefing, Soldiers
and families proceeded                                                                                      Photo by: Sgt. Karima Turner, 134th Public Affairs Detachment

downstairs to the drill hall floor                          Staff Sgt. Joseph Thibault, personnel services Non-Commissioned Officer,
to take part in fun and festivities.                        quizzed the kids on history and other trivia during the December 2 Christmas
    This year’s event not only                              party held at the Anchorage Armory on the drill hall flloor.

                                                                        included the annual unit           In the tradition of a Thibault
                                                                        gift basket drawing and        master of ceremonies event the
                                                                        treat bags for the kids        spirit was
                                                                        but also included a craft      high and the
                                                                        table for the kids and give    excitement kept
                                                                        away of Guard recruiting       going with both
                                                                        merchandise.                   kids and adults
                                                                            “We just started the       running back and
                                                                        Christmas ornament craft       forth to the stage
                                                                        table this year because        to win one of
                                                                        we did’t go to the Artic       the many Guard
                                                                        Oasis,” said Sgt. 1st Class    items being
                                                                        Megan Simino with JFHQ.        given away.
                                                                            With the sounds of             As the ways
                                                                        Christmas music echoing        to win a prize
                                                                        through the hall, Staff        became more
        Photo by: Sgt. Karima Turner, 134th Public Affairs Detachment
                                                                        Sgt. Joseph Thibault, with     challenging the
                                                                        JFHQ G-1 stepped forward       laughter and
Master Sgt. Sherry Butters, Joint Forces
Headquarters, Drug Demand Reduction,
                                                                        to the podium and got          enjoyment of the 1st Sgt. Lil Aukongak, J
teaches Marissa and Kyra Kondas, daugh-                                 things rolling by giving       event grew.          Officer 3 Harrison, Joint
ters of Capt. Joel Kondas, JFHQ DOIM,                                   out a booney hat to the first       “The child       and technology for G-1,
a teambuilding skill with the use of gyro                               child that could reach the     that can tell        to serve their troops Chr
rings.                                                                  stage.                         me when the          party that was held on

                                                                                 3
       National Guard was first organized                            anticipated basket drawing                      A final bit of excitement
       will win a prize,” said Thibault.                            commenced. There were baskets            came when Thibault grabbed
           He laughed at the many                                   of every shape and size including        hold of the last item and made a
       answers given by children and                                the traditional heater meal with gift fifty yard style dash through the
       Guardsmen but the final answer                                cards attached and a newly added         pack of kids hovering below the
       of Dec 13, 1636 came from                                    duct taped package.                      stage around the tables and back up
       Emmanuel Howes the teenager                                       “All in all I think it went         to the stage.
       from Bartlett High School who                                well,” said Master Sgt. Kathy                   Like mice following closely
       just happened to be studying about                           Thompson with JFHQ G-3.                  to the pied piper, the children
       the Minutemen in school.                                     “There was lots of good stuff            laughed and skipped hurriedly and
           Then just as they began                                  and good food, I think that these        with excitement they raced to get
       to play the new Three Doors                                  family things are important,”            the last item before their parents
       Down song, “Citizen Soldier” as                              Thompson continued.                      collected them and headed home.
       a supplement to one of the many                                   As the
       trivia questions asked, who should                           event neared
       arrive but Santa and Mrs. Claus.                             its end a mass
           Children roared in excitement                            unload of the
       as the Claus’s entered the room.                             remaining Guard
       Every child rushed to the stage                              gifts began
       trying to be the first ones to tell                           by Thibault
       their Christmas wish to the Jolly                            announcing that
       old man and get their picture                                he would throw
       taken.                                                       the rest of the
           As the line of children                                  t-shirts, mugs,
       proceeded to see Santa the much                              popcorn and
                                                                    more into the
                                                                    audience.
                                                                         With that the
                                                                    children ran to
                                                                    the stage area to
                                                                    try and catch one
                                                                    of the many gifts.
                                                                         “It was like
                                                                    an angry mob
                                                                    just attacked the
                                                                    stage,” said Spc.
                                                                    Jamie Magsayo
                                                                    with Finance
                                                                    Battalion.
                                                                         “My son had                       Photo by Spc. Margaret J. Moonin, 134th Public Affairs Detachment
              Sgt. Karima Turner, 134th Public Affairs Detachment   a blast. It was       Brigadere Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, Alaska Army
Joint Forces Headquarters, Chief Warrant                            way better this       National Guard Assistant Adjutant General, de-
t Forces Headquarters chief of automation                           year. Everybody livers an uplifting speech to a new breed of Sol-
  and Col. Cathy Jorgensen, G-1, get ready                          was motivated         diers, the children of Guardsmen during the Fam-
ristmas dinner during the JFHQ Christmas                            and upbeat.”          ily Assistance and Family Programs Christmas
  the Armory Drill Hall Floor December 2.                           Magsayo said.         Party at the National Guard Armory November 30.

                                                                                              4
DRILL
From page 1
to be a Soldier,” Cochran said.
“It will affect their Soldier skills
from there on out.”
    Before Cochran could even
begin to teach the new recruits
how to be Soldiers, she had to go
through rigorous drill sergeant’s
school herself, learning to be a
teacher, mentor, and motivator; a
drill sergeant.
    “Drill sergeant’s school was
like basic training plus another
eight billion hours of classroom
training,” Cochran said. “It was
hard, but I wouldn’t change a                                                    Photo by: Sgt. Karima Turner, 134th Public Affairs Detachment

thing about it.”                     Recruit Sustainmetn Program Drill Sergeant Bonnie Cochran calls cadence
    Since returning in July          to keep her new recruits in line during drill at Camp Carroll.
from drill sergeants’ school
in Fort Jackson, S.C., Cochran               Sgt. 1st Class Gregory            happen probably within that first
has joined the Recruiting and           Ray, Recruiting and Retention          week,” Cochran said. “If they don’t
Retention Command as the Recruit marketing non-commissioned                    rappel they don’t graduate, so what
Sustainment Program (RSP) Drill         officer said Soldiers like Sergeant     I’m doing here is kind of stacking
Sergeant.                               Cochran, who come back from            the deck in their favor; I’m saying,
    “Every state has a Recruit          drill sergeant’s school know first      ‘Okay, we’re going to go rappel
Sustainment Program,” Cochran           hand what young soldiers are going and I’m going to show you that
said. “One of the ways the              to experience when they go to          you can do it,’ so when they get
National Guard Bureau has found         training.                              down to basic training hopefully
to improve the program is to train          “If we can recreate that           they go off no problem and they
and assign drill sergeants to RSP,      atmosphere even in the slightest       continue through basic training
it helps to ensure that new Soldiers bit, it will prepare these guys and       and graduate; it helps them to take
are at least somewhat prepared          girls better for when they take off    some of that self-doubt off their
for what they will face at basic        and the better off they’ll be when     shoulders.”
training.”                              they get there,” Ray said. “We               Cochran said that aside from
    During RSP training, Cochran        would like to see more National        teaching civilians to be Soldiers
focuses on teaching the recruits        Guard Soldiers take advantage of       it’s important to her that she can be
everything from drill and ceremony the opportunity to become a drill           someone for her Soldiers to look
and rank structure to rappelling and sergeant; the more people we have up to.
basic medical tasks.                    at the RSP doing what sergeant               “I want to be a good role
    “It’s almost like pre-basic         Cochrane is doing the better.”         model, that’s what I want to be for
training,” Cochran said. “Every             At basic training, soldiers are    them,” Cochran said. “We only
year the requirements for               required to successfully complete      read about the drill sergeants who
these soldiers change and at            certain tasks before they graduate,    are doing bad things, but for every
drill sergeant’s school we are          and that’s what Cochrane is            bad one, there are a dozen more
specifically trained on the things       training them to do.                   doing the right thing, training
that will prepare our soldiers for          “For example they are going        civilians and turning them into
their military future.”                 to have to rappel, and it’s going to   warriors to defend our freedom.”

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