By: Michael Lee, Contributing Writer
Several Centralia High School students have chosen to participate in a physical training activity hosted by Mrs. Katie Patton, CHS Government instructor, and their respective recruiting offices.
Seniors Sean Ward, Rafe Mechlin, Andrew Kribbs and Michael Lee have decided to enlist in the United States
Marine Corps. Patton is helping these students by holding Physical Training during PASS, where the students do pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups. They also train to increase their cardio endurance to prepare themselves for boot camp or basic training.
Patton grew up in a military family and has been around the military for most of her life. She attended Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) in high school and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) during her freshman year of college. When asked about the in-school PT, she said, “I was approached by students who were interested in working on their PT scores to better prepare themselves for the military. This was something they asked if I would supervise. As an educational institute, we want to make sure our students are prepared academically and physically for whatever paths our students decide to take, be that college or a career right after high school. This was just another way I could help our students take the steps they need to take after they graduate.” She currently has six to seven students already attending the in-school Physical Training from various branches. This training can last anywhere from one to three weeks.
Sergeant Cody Stewart is a United States Marine Corps recruiter and works at the Columbia, Missouri, Recruiters Office. He helps the applicants from CHS prepare for their future military career. His primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is Marines Air Ground Task Force Planning Specialist. He also helps run the PT and pool functions, alongside Sergeant Woodard and Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds.
Sergeant Stewart said his favorite part of training the poolees “is seeing the progress that the poolees and applicants make as they learn how to push themselves harder and learn to push past the mental barriers that they did not realize were holding them back initially. Teaching them sound PT techniques along with leadership, I feel, helps them to realize their full potential and ensures their future success past boot camp.”
Kribbs and Ward are two of the students who are participating in this physical training opportunity. Both are joining the United States Marine Corps and attending Physical Training at the recruiting office in Columbia. Ward chose the United States Marine Corps because his family has been involved it that branch for years. “Both my mother (Gunnery Sergeant, 16 years) and father (Sergeant, 12 years) were Marines,” said Ward. He also said he joined because of the pride of brotherhood and the one-of-a-kind experience and knowledge the Marine Corps brings.
Ward started going to the PT in Columbia in February of 2019. He advises people who are planning on joining any branch of the military to make their decision to join for the right reasons. He said, “Do not make your decision because of money, make it because you love your country. Protect and serve.” Ward will be shipping off to boot camp June 29, 2020. He plans on going into the field of aircrew/aerial observer/gunner.
Kribbs is planning on joining the field of Explosive Ordnance Disposal. He wants to join the United States Marine Corps because “they are one of America’s top warriors.” He started going to the PT in Columbia in the early spring of last year, and his favorite part of PT is the BUG challenge, a series of suicides, buddy carries and other difficult PT exercises. When asked about the advice he would give those thinking about joining the military, he said, “Don’t be scared to do something that frightens you.” Kribbs is set to go to boot camp on July 8, 2020.