Kentucky Guard recruits tomorrow’s techies today

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Story and photos by Sgt. Paul Evans/HHC 103rd BSB Unit Public Affairs Representative

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery set up the Satellite Transmission Terminal (STT) prior to the Student Technology Leadership Program at Heritage Hall in Lexington, Ky. May 11.

LEXINGTON, Ky (May 12, 2010)—The Heritage Hall corridors echoed with young technology students attending and competing in the 2010 Annual Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) being conducted by the STLP State Advisory Council in Lexington, Ky., May 11.  For Soldiers of the Kentucky National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery, as well as the state recruiting command, the STLP presented an opportunity to recruit some of the brightest technological minds in the Bluegrass.

According to Capt. James Meece, a systems administrator for the 623rd, the idea to attend the STLP to search for more tech-savvy Soldiers surfaced about six months ago when the brigade took a look at their unit manning report only to discover that they were significantly lacking Soldiers in the “25 series” of military occupational specialties.  This shortcoming was most noticeable in jobs involving information systems operation, multichannel transmission systems operation, and satellite communication systems operation.

“It’s hard to find tech-oriented people with high enough aptitude scores,” Meece said.  “That’s why we conduct the STLP.”

Capt. James Meece (right), 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery, and Maj. Tamara Hurst, Commander, Recruiting & Retention Battalion, stop to check out a yellow rover built by 2010 Student Technology Leadership Program participants. The rover, which has a hydraulic grabbing device on the front and a shut-off device on top, will compete at Heritage Hall in June.

The Student Technology Leadership Program started in 1994 and is a project-based learning program intended to empower students from kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade to use technology to learn and achieve. The 2010 Annual State Championship’s mission is to advance individual capabilities, motivate all students, and create leadership opportunities through the use of technology.  This enabled approximately 3,800 Kentucky students to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in more than 32 different technology-based areas.  Four Soldiers from 623rd’s 1st Battalion, including Meece, 1st Lt.  Adam Fleming, Spc. Alfonzo Hernandez, and Pvt. 1st Class Jay Burrows did their part by bringing in two pieces of communication equipment, which were explained in detail to students in attendance.

In order to help bring in students, members of the Kentucky Recruiting and Retention Command, who were also in attendance, held a contest that gave away an iPod Nano to the high school student who scored the highest on a quiz following the explanation of what each piece of equipment did.  Out of the 44 students participating, Matthew Berry of Lexington’s McPherson Academy was declared the winner with a three-way tie for second place.

Maj. Tamara Hurst, Kentucky Recruiting and Retention Commander said it’s important to emphasize the need for technologically minded individuals across the board for the guard. By bringing in students to look at specific National Guard equipment and jobs they might find interesting, the 623rd took an important step in planting a seed in the minds of what will likely be some of tomorrow’s bright Soldiers.

Matthew Case from Todd County Central High School poses with Capt. James Meece and 1st Lt. Adam Fleming of 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery Brigade after tieing for second place in the competition to win an iPod Nano at the Student Technology Leadership Program in Lexington, Ky. May 11.

Matthew Case from Todd County Central High School poses with Capt. James Meece and 1st Lt. Adam Fleming of 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery after a three-way tie for second place in the competition to win an iPod Nano at the Student Technology Leadership Program in Lexington, Ky., May 11.

Richard Stansberry from Bullit Central High School and his teacher, pose with Capt. James Meece and 1st Lt. Adam Fleming of 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery after tieing for second place in the competition to win an iPod Nano.

Ryan Bell from Warren Central High School poses with Capt. James Meece and 1st Lt. Adam Fleming of 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery after a three-way tie for second place in the competition to win an iPod Nano at the Student Technology Leadership Program in Lexington, Ky., May 11.

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