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Instructors of the Alpine Operations Course at the 1st Lt. John A. McCown II Light Fighters School, 10th Mountain Division, show students from Harold T. Wiley Intermediate School the basics of mechanical advantage during a presentation Nov. 17, 2023, as part of the STARBASE science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education curriculum geared toward fifth-grade students on Fort Drum, N.Y. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amber Edwards.)

Light Fighters School instructors teach Fort Drum STARBASE Academy students

Spc. Kasimir Jackson

27th Public Affairs Detachment

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Nov. 20, 2023) — Local fifth-grade students learned the importance of mechanical advantage in a memorable way from Soldiers at Fort Drum when they pulled a truck using a pulley system.

The 10th Mountain Division Light Fighters School (LFS) instructors came out to support the Fort Drum STARBASE Academy, Nov. 14-17.

“Our goal is to provide exposure and supplementation to what the students are learning at their home school,” said Joanne Witt, Fort Drum Starba STARBASE se Academy director. “This program is meant to put the lesson into the hands of children who may just need the information one more time. ”

The Fort Drum STARBASE Academy began in September of last year, and this was the second time students from Harold T. Wiley School, Watertown, have participated.

“We started coming to the STARBASE Academy last year,” said Christina Faber, a fifth-grade teacher at Wiley School. “It’s great to see how much the program has improved in the course of one year. I know my students love how hands-on it is.”

The Fort Drum STARBASE Academy is offered to 14 area school districts in five-day rotations throughout the year.

“Everyone is here for at least five days, but some other programs in different parts of the country are for one day a week for five weeks,” Witt said.

According to Witt, this program has opened the gates of Fort Drum to the surrounding community by showing that 10th Mountain Division Soldiers care about the youths through education and interaction.

“For the local community, this program demystifies Fort Drum. It brings the kids in and allows them to see what’s inside the gate, while also bringing Soldiers out because of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) collaborations,” Witt said.

The Alpine Operations Course instructors came out to the STARBASE Academy to teach the students hauling systems using mechanical advantage.

“A couple of the students were saying how they've helped their dads using the techniques we were going over,” said Sgt. Michael Kerr, an LFS instructor. “We used a rope, carabiner, and pulley to overcome friction while pulling a truck up a small slope.”

According to 1st Sgt. Daniel Fields, senior enlisted adviser at LFS, schoolhouse instructors, with help from 642nd Engineer Support Company Soldiers, are constructing a small climbing wall on the LFS footprint. When finished, the wall will be 20 feet wide and 12 feet high and will have modifiable bouldering “problems” made possible with the use of moveable handholds and footholds.

“We will have the ability to make the wall as easy or as difficult as the training audience requires,” Fields said. “We will use the wall to teach the fundamentals of climbing to the Alpine Operations Course and Basic Military Mountaineering (students).”

In the meantime, LFS leaders plan to continue reaching out to the community through programs like the STARBASE Academy to increase engagement and enhance the abilities of the LFS instructors.