Starting Strong: Infantryman (11B) Prospect

His grandfather and uncle served their country, and his brother is an Army Sergeant, but Jeremy isn’t sure if he’ll follow in their footsteps.
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The show you are watching is real. These people are not actors. You will follow a potential Army recruit with a backstage pass as they learn about Army life, careers and themselves. At the end, they’ll make a life-changing decision. Join the Army or remain a civilian. This recruit’s journey starts now.

An infantry Soldier has to perform under the harshest conditions and never give up. He’s also a skilled professional trained to use state-of-the-art weaponry and gear to get the job done. If you can meet the demands of the infantry, you can succeed at anything the civilian world has to throw at you. That’s the promise of infantry training and the challenge one young man is about to tackle head on.

My name is Jeremy Navarette, I’m from Rancho Cucamonga, California, I’m 22 years old. Right now I’m about 50/50 joining the Army. At home, everything’s great. There’s not really a big push for me to leave the house. I’m telling myself that I need to grow up, but at the same time I tell myself, you know, I don’t want to grow up. I just want to be a kid.

Well, you’re going to get the opportunity of a lifetime to train with Army infantry. You’re going to train with them for a few days, and at the end of that time period, you have to make a decision. You can remain a civilian, or you can join the Army. Are you ready to do this?

Let’s do it.

This is Sergeant First Class Valentin Vildosola, or Sergeant V. He wears the Combat Infantry badge, Drill Sergeant badge, and he’s been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hey listen up, Charlie Company. This guy here is Jeremy; he’s going to be with us a couple of days.

I’m from Rancho Cucamonga, California. I’m doing this because I want to experience what you guys experience every day of your lives. I might have lots of fun with you guys.

That it?

Yes, Sergeant.

You think he’s got what it takes?

No. No.

Jeremy’s training starts with an introduction to what makes the Stryker infantry so special – the armored fighting machine called the Stryker ICV. Weighing in at 19 tons, the Stryker has a turbo diesel that moves it down the road at over 60 miles per hour. It can run in 4-wheel or 8-wheel drive. It’s got DRS optical thermal imaging systems for night fighting, and it’s fully computer networked. The next step in Jeremy’s training is qualification with the infantrymen’s basic weapon — the M4 carbine.

The Army standard on qualification table is that you must score 23 out of 40 hits. That is the bare minimum. So what are you going to be going for?


Don’t let me down.

Go ahead, whenever you’re ready.

Relax, breathe normal. You’re still firing while you’re breathing. Don’t do that.

Alright. Seventeen, 18, 19.


Nineteen out of 40.

I noticed once he started firing, he wasn’t applying the fundamentals that we taught him earlier.

This is serious business, okay. It’s a profession. This is what we do as infantrymen. We take care of business. And we can’t take care of business if our head is somewhere else not focusing on the task at hand.

Jeremy’s training continues with key tactical skills he will put into action later in a night combat exercise.

Check it out. Today we’re going to teach you how to knock out a bunker, enter and clear a trench, and enter and clear a building. So we’re going to take it real slow, baby steps.

The training that we’re doing is exactly what I was hoping to get out of this experience. This is the tactical knowledge that I’ve always wanted to have. It’s given me a big backstage pass to see what the life of an infantryman really is.

In a mock operation, Jeremy must utilize everything he’s learned so far in order to complete the mission.

[Shouts of “Go!” and “Keep going!”]

As Jeremy’s team moves in they identify an enemy position inside a nearby shop.



Jeremy’s team leader calls upon the Stryker to lay down suppressive fire.

Meanwhile, Jeremy and his team approach the store from the side, a common tactical move called flanking.


I got some intel.

Jeremy took all the knowledge he received earlier and actually put it into place.

Why did you decide to keep the cellphone?

There might be numbers on other organizations that may be linked to terrorism.

There ya go.

Sergeant V told me, you know, good job about taking that cellphone as intel. I felt pretty good about myself. I’m glad I did what he told me to do.

Bravo! Load up. Let’s go.

If we did these type of drills every day, I would definitely be wanting to join the military a lot more.

Follow your heart and think with your mind, okay. And whatever is best for you is going to be best for the Army. Okay?

Alright, Sergeant.

Jeremy, it sounds like you’ve had a great experience, but now it’s time to make that final decision. So do you want to join the U.S. Army or remain a civilian?