Most people think of military basic training as one of the hardest physical training programs, possibly in the world.
For Mary Rosenhammer, a senior at St. Mary’s High School this fall, basic training earned her several awards including best solider in her company, the second highest female in her company and a promotion to Private First Class (PFC), which generally takes soldiers several months to several years in the military to earn.
“The training really was hard,” Rosenhammer said of the 10 weeks she spent at Fort Jackson in South Carolina this summer. “But in the end it was worth it. The training prepares you for actual combat.”
Rosenhammer enlisted in the National Guard Army branch as a junior in high school, which allowed her to enlist in the military and not interrupt her high school education. She started by attending basic training this summer.
Graduating from basic training on Aug. 8, Rosenhammer returned home in time for her senior year that begins Aug. 26. She will train one weekend per month in Mankato with an Army National Guard unit. The summer following her high school graduation, she will attend (AIT) Advanced Individual Training, to become a truck driver. She said she will most likely take her training at Fort Leonardwood in Missouri.
After her advanced training, Rosenhammer said she plans to enroll in college, although she said she is currently undecided on a field of study. For right now, Rosenhammer said, her military experience is just a stepping stone, but making it a career option is a possibility.
While training was grueling, Rosenhammer said one piece of advice she held on to was that there is a reason behind the madness.
“They always told us that and it’s true. It’s about discipline and training us to one day take their spot,” Rosenhammer said.
Although Rosenhammer said basic training was one of the hardest things she has accomplished in her life up to this point, she fared well, receiving several top honor awards.
She explained that once the soldiers arrive on base they are sorted into companies of 200 soldiers and then further divided into four platoons of 50 soldiers each in the company.
Rosenhammer received highest physical training scores in her platoon and second highest female in company. Out of the whole company she was selected as Soldier of the Cycle, which means that she earned the distinction of being the best soldier in her company. This award, she noted, was earned by her ability to grasp the tasks she was being taught, her motivation and attitude to name a few. The Soldier of the Cycle award led her company to be one of the top six companies out of 1,400 soldiers in the cycle. She also received several token awards of appreciation.
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Graduation was held Aug. 8 on base with her parents, John and Patty, in attendance. Rosenhammer is looking forward to her senior year of high school at St. Mary’s and what her future holds, whether it is a career in the military or her college education.