Senior Spotlight: Hildebrand Undergoes National Guard Training before Senior Year
How 17 year old Brianna Hildebrand of St. Ansgar spent the summer before her senior year isn’t too typical of most girls on the cheerleading squad; and she says getting down and in the dirt at boot camp has her “more ready now than ever” to tackle her senior year with ease, after enlisting in the Iowa Army National Guard earlier this year and her completion of 10 weeks of Army Basic Training at Fort Sill, OK from May to August.
So, after a summer of drill sergeants, chow lines and live-fire exercises at dawn, Hildebrand will now finish out her high school career counting down the days until June 1, the date of her next deployment, to Fort Sam in San Antonio, TX, where she will undergo sixteen weeks of Combat Medic training. She plans on serving in the National Guard for the duration of her contract in order to pay for college for Nursing, possibly at the University of Northern Iowa.
The boot camp saw Hildebrand and her fellow recruits undergo intensive physical training in all fields, including combat tactics, obstacle training, marksmanship and AIT (advanced individualized training). Hildebrand’s squadron, the 2nd Platoon Panthers, earned distinction at the base among their peers for marksmanship, with Hildebrand earning individual recognition for marksmanship, grenades, AIT, and EMT training.
“It was intense. Lots of pushups. There was sometimes no time to eat and sometimes no time to sleep, and when we got there I was probably up for two days straight.”
Hildebrand is the daughter of Terry and Brandy Sue Woods of St. Ansgar, who are prideful and supportive of Brianna’s commitment to service and her accomplishments, along with the backing of a familial support system that traveled the long trek to Fort Sill in Oklahoma for Brianna’s graduation August 11. Hildebrand says the drive home was “full of ‘drill sergeant’ horror stories and lots of long-awaited sleep”.
In the interim between her Guard training, she hopes to have an eventful senior year spent cheering for the Saints at football and wrestling matches, as well as track in the spring. Meanwhile, after school she is working towards her certification as a CNA, following the footsteps of her mother (and grandmother Yvonne) in nursing, just “because I enjoy helping people”.
What lessons did she say she learned most resonated with her after all the hard work and intense training? She says something one of her drill sergeants said stood out: “Sometimes you’re just in an environment with no decisions and all you have to do it be in the right place at the right time, and do as you’re told.”
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