The three black trucks unloaded behind Springstead High School and changed the area into a U.S. Army Strength in Action Zone. Students were invited to visit throughout the day to learn what the Army has to offer.
Sgt. John Gans was one of the recruiters on hand from the Brooksville Army recruiting office to answer questions. When the students arrived, they were asked to take a registration survey to determine whether they have any interest in the military. It was for students age 16 or older, but Sans said: "It's their choice. No pressure. None whatsoever."
There was plenty to do at the site to encourage team building, assess strength and experience simulated helicopter flight. The simulated helicopters were the most popular. Two by two the students were strapped in and closed into the simulators, which then moved into a takeoff, banked and went practically upside down while shooting at targets.
The team-building challenge had three parts for teams of four. The first part was a mat with raised blocks spaced down its sides. The students had to move two boards from one end to the other, crossing from one block to the next without touching the mat.
The next segment was academic. The students were encouraged to answer three questions about geography, math and code breaking. Then it was on to the third part: push-ups.
These were not ordinary push-ups, but box push-ups. The students arranged themselves perpendicular to each other into a square, put their feet on the back of the person adjacent to them and did the push-ups in tandem. The number was tracked on buttons they each hit as they went down. Five push-ups were required to finish the event.
Junior Sasha Spalding, 16, did the challenge and said the push-ups were the hardest. Her teammate junior Peter Napoli, 16, said, "There really wasn't a hard part."
Another teammate, junior Caleb Shellabarger, 17, said the math question was the toughest part. "It was a challenging question. We worked together and got it done."
Senior Erika Boone, 18, said the simulator was her favorite part of the zone. She went on it three times. The first time was "kind of a surprise," she said. The second and third times were "kind of cool."
She did the course with three others and said, "Everything was fun, except the push-ups."
Senior Josiah Ramsey, 17, liked the simulator, too. "I think it was extremely fun," he said.
Senior Craig Downing, 18, said the simulator was very realistic. "It'd be a little bit better if you could control it, but it's a fun little ride."
Senior Jessica Richards, 18, really enjoyed it. "I loved it," she said. "I was scared the first time, but it was amazing."
Sophomore Frank Gardner, 16, who did 40 push-ups at the strength assessment platform, said the simulator was "very realistic and very cool." He said he hopes to join the military as a mechanic.