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Home : News
NEWS | June 1, 2024

Connecticut Army National Guard Hosts First ever Infantry Day

By Pfc. Emmanuel Gibson

STONES RANCH, Conn. – The Connecticut Army National Guard hosted its first-ever Infantry Day Open House at Stones Ranch Military Reservation to experience a day in the boots of an infantryman, June 1, 2024.

The purpose of Infantry Day was to give soldiers, servicemembers, and civilians an exclusive experience of the infantry lifestyle while sharing the camaraderie, connections, and opportunities within it.
Captain Russell Gong, an infantry officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment, kicked off the event by briefing approximately 60 attendees about the importance of the infantry’s role in the army.
The infantry engages in close-quarter combat with the enemy and fights our nation's wars, they maintain and improve these skills by training individually and as a team. The participants learned infantry skills such as safely rappelling down towers and handling various weapon systems frequently employed by the infantry.
The attendees were subsequently split into two groups based on the skills they were about to learn.  
Group A began by repelling down either a 35- or 75-foot wall after receiving a briefing on safety and braking techniques from Sgt. 1st Class. Chris Vincent, an infantryman assigned to the 1-102nd.
Group B received hands-on training behind multiple weapon systems such as the M4 Carbine, a standard issue weapon that all soldiers train with, the M107 Semi-Automatic Long Range Sniper Rifle, the Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun, and a 120mm mortar. The attendees were able to simulate firing several of these weapons by using a blank firing adapter.
Hot meals were prepared and served in an assault kitchen by culinary specialists assigned to Hotel Co. Brigade Support Company and Sgt. Michael Osorio briefed the participants on how to prepare several MRE dishes such as egg skillet, beef hash, golden harvest cake with icing, and beverages such as coffee and orange juice. 
Major Gen. Francis Evon, the adjutant general of the Connecticut National Guard, and other Connecticut Army National Guard leaders wrapped up Infantry Day with advice and encouragement to those considering joining the infantry.
“People look at the infantry, and they watch movies, and they see things or hear things, and they get scared, right? And to me it’s the same as when you show up at a pool party, and everybody's talking about how the pool might be cold,” remarked Command Sgt. Major Andres Quintero-Tarazona, the 6th Recruiting and Retention Battalion senior enlisted leader, “But after the pool party, nobody ever talks about how cold the pool was. Everybody talks about how great it is. And that's what I see for the infantry. So, making that initial decision, there's a lot of what if this, what if that, I'm scared, I don't know if I can do it. But after you do it, and you go through it, you're just so happy that you're part of such a prestigious organization.”
Click here to learn more about serving in the Connecticut Army National Guard or to learn more about the infantry.