Soldiers train for deployment with media interviews - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Soldiers train for deployment with media interviews

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The military thinks the training is important because it's hard to predict when a deployed soldier might come in contact with the media. The military thinks the training is important because it's hard to predict when a deployed soldier might come in contact with the media.
Captain Matthew Wright Captain Matthew Wright
Sergeant Edward Sullivan Sergeant Edward Sullivan
Private First Class Christopher Etchison Private First Class Christopher Etchison
Specialist Armando Barreiro Specialist Armando Barreiro

FT. KNOX, KY (WAVE) - When you picture soldiers training for deployment you might think of target practice and outdoors training. Doing interviews with reporters is not probably on the list, but it is a requirement for each U.S. Forces Command soldier before they deploy overseas.

The military thinks the training is important because it's hard to predict when a deployed soldier might come in contact with the media. The Army wants the young men and women to understand what they say isn't just their opinion, but represents the military.

For a room full of soldiers at Fort Knox Monday, it was about as real-world training for deployment as it gets.

"Today we're doing media awareness training and we're going to give you an opportunity to speak with real reporter," 76 Engineer Company Commander, Captain Matthew Wright told them. "Some of this will appear on the news tonight. So it is very real - We both have a mission to present. They're there to get your story and we're there to present it."

Wright wants to make sure his soldiers are ready for anything as they deploy to Kuwait this fall and being ready to tell their story to the media is part of it.

"We should try to sell our story so that the American public understands what exactly it is that we're doing," he said.

They call it the soldier's Army story and the unit has a lot of them.

Specialist Juan Guiza is about to face his first deployment.

"I was born in Mexico and I became a U.S. citizen," Guiza said. "This country gave me an opportunity to be a U.S. citizen. I wanted to repay them, help out the country."

Specialist Armando Barreiro is on his second deployment. He returned from Iraq in 2011.

"I remember throwing candy at the children, giving them candy," Barreiro said.

He's actually looking forward to another stint overseas.

"I actually joined the Army with that -- I would say -- patriotism, to go and defend my country and go and defend other people and do things for others," Barreiro said. "I always wanted to do that. That's why I like deploying because not only -- we're not just there to kill the enemy." 

Two cooks from the company have family connections to their jobs.

"My grandfather got me into cooking," said Specialist Maxwell Howard. "He was a cook and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps."

Private First Class Christopher Etchison learned from his father that cooking can mean more than just nourishment.

"Just the food, brings back something of home to people," he said. "Just like when you serve the meal to them too, a greeting, a hello, a hi, brings a smile to people's face.

Each story was told to a reporter for training. Soon it will become a network of support for a group that will serve far from home.

"You depend on each other," said Sergeant Edward Sullivan. "Each soldier depends on the other soldier over there to help them get through the stressful situations. You have someone to talk to. You know someone always has your back."

The soldiers leave sometime at the end of October or early November for Kuwait. They could be asked to go to far more dangerous locations during their nine-month deployment but without exception, they said they're ready.

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