Steel Talons provide motivating, positive experience for Camp Sierra Blanca students
By Airman 1st Class Heather Stanton, 49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 29, 2007
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Ten students from the Camp Sierra Blanca juvenile corrections facility came to Holloman to learn drill and the posting of the Colors from the Steel Talons Honor Guard, but left with a little more than that.
Camp Sierra Blanca is located at Fort Stanton, N.M., and is for juveniles in state lock down facilities. The camp is a way for students who are showing a want for a positive change in their life to be reintegrated into society by going to school and learning the positive things in life, said Mr. Victor Montes, Camp Sierra Blanca operations manager.
Within Camp Sierra Blanca is an accredited high school and a wilderness program where the clients go on hiking trips, complete a rope obstacle course and learn to survive on their own in the wilderness, said Mr. Montes. There is also the New Mexico hunter's safety course where the students learn a positive way to use a weapon.
The Steel Talons have participated in many events along with the Camp Sierra Blanca Color Guard, said Mr. Montes, so it was just a matter of time before a training get together took place.
The students went through a four-hour training session with Master Sgt. Paul Sanchez, Steel Talons Honor Guard noncommissioned officer in charge, and Staff Sgt. Tony Wicker, Steel Talons head trainer, and learned basic Air Force drill to include the position of attention, facing movements, etc. Once they got a good foundation on the basics, Sergeant Sanchez began teaching them how to march with proper arm swing and to stay in step with each other.
After the students got a grasp on drill, they were taught Color Guard for parades and posting indoors.
The students said there were many differences in the Air Force teachings than in the way they learned drill and Colors before, but enjoyed the experience of being taught by someone who made a career out of drill and ceremony.
"The young men from Camp Sierra Blanca were extremely attentive, positively motivated and really cared about what they were doing," said Sergeant Sanchez. "I enjoyed teaching them as much as they said they enjoyed learning what they came to learn."
Having the students from Camp Sierra Blanca come to Holloman truly shows other communities that Holloman is the Friendliest Place on Earth, said Sergeant Sanchez. It shows that Holloman enjoys supporting local communities in every aspect available.
"I hope we provided a positive and motivating learning environment for the young men who are sincerely trying to better their lives."