11th grader graduates Army Basic Training
AMERICUS — High school student Safaria Carson wants to be all she can be. And, she has a growing list of things she hopes to accomplish.
Carson, a senior at Americus-Sumter High School (ASHS), recently graduated from U.S. Army Basic Training. While her classmates were busy enjoying summer break between 11th and 12th grades, Carson enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and traveled to Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, to tackle 10 weeks of boot camp in the grueling heat. She finished boot camp and graduated on Aug. 15 with the rank of PV2 and returned home to start her senior year at ASHS.
After completing high school Carson will go active duty for further training. “I will enter Advanced Individual Training (AIT) after graduation to train for my job as a petroleum supply specialist. AIT will be in Fort Lee, Virginia, and lasts 10 weeks.” When she’s done with AIT, Carson will return to Georgia and enroll at Mercer University in Macon to major in nursing. “I chose ROTC for the benefits, such as money for college. And I chose Mercer because they have a strong ROTC program. After I finish my degree, I will be an officer on full active duty.”
Carson said basic training was tough, but a truly dynamic experience, one she will never forget. “I loved all the physical training, especially the obstacle course,” she said. “Our platoon stuck together and made sure everybody completed it. We never left a comrade behind. We made sure everyone made it through.”
Carson described one particularly intense part of her training known as “NIC At Night.” (NIC stands for “Night Infiltration Course”) “We had to high crawl and low crawl across a field in full battle gear with real bullets passing over our heads. It was three o’clock in the morning, and adrenaline was high. I was so scared. Then when it was done, I was so proud that I had completed it.”
Carson credits Americus-Sumter High JROTC instructor Seth Howell (1SG United States Army) with inspiring her decision to enlist. “First Sergeant Howell influenced me a great deal, and served as my mentor through the whole process,” she said. “He guided me and answered my questions.”