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Stellar Students Learn About National Security Careers

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2007 – About 40 exceptional students from high schools nationwide assembled at the Pentagon yesterday to learn about national security careers.

The students are participants in the National Youth Leadership Forum’s career-preparation program, said Glen O. Hawkins, a faculty advisor for the tuition-based educational organization.

Hawkins said the forum helps young people explore careers in the fields of national security, diplomacy, law, medicine and other professions. Program participants are high achievers with grade-point averages of 3.7 or above, he said.

“The one we’re participating in now deals with national security,” Hawkins explained at the Pentagon. The students received briefings by Army, Air Force, Marine and Navy officers.

About 400 high school students are attending various forum-run career programs held across the Washington area from now through the end of October, Hawkins said.

The Defense Department portion concludes with a mock national security exercise at a local hotel, Hawkins said.

“I wanted to see the Pentagon and hear from people who serve” in the military, said Kathleen C. Rubin, an 18-year-old senior from Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio.

The Texas teenager said she perceived passion in the speakers’ voices as they discussed their military duties. “They really care about what they do,” Rubin observed.

Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Marine 1st Lt. David W. Bradt was among the officers who briefed the students. The Marine said he fielded students’ questions about his wartime experiences, post-traumatic stress disorder, battlefield ethics and other topics.

“The kids impressed me. They are very well informed and the majority had good questions that demanded well-thought-out answers,” said Bradt, who recently completed a nationwide speaking tour as part of the Defense Department’s “Why We Serve” public-outreach program.

Defense-oriented briefings will be provided each week to other students in the program through the end of the month, Pentagon spokeswoman Adrien F.C. Starks said.

“The National Youth Leadership Forum is a group of very young and bright kids,” Starks noted. “They’ve asked some very valid questions.”

The students also received a guided tour of the Pentagon, including a visit to the Army Operations Center, and learned about the Defense Department’s “America Supports You” program, which connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

“We’re letting them know that there is a Department of Defense program in place that connects the American public with our servicemembers and family members,” Starks said.

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Why We Serve
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