The inaugural Junior Leadership Otero group learned about the history of White Sands Missile Range and the testing facilities on the installation during their visit Feb. 9.
The visit to WSMR was part of the group’s STEM Day, which focused on potential careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“We try to take the kids and expose them to various opportunities in the county and connect them to the education pathway,” said Doyle Syling, a graduate of the 2013 Leadership Otero Class, who helped organize the program tailored for high school juniors.
The group visited Launch Complex 33, one of the installation’s national historic landmarks, and learned about the V-2 rockets that were launched from there. The group also visited the Cox Range Control Center and took a windshield tour of various facilities on the installation. The group visited the USS Desert Ship, where the facility systems engineer and several Sailors guided the tour.
“The students get good exposure and understanding of what we do at White Sands,” said Chief Petty Officer Eric Rodriguez, USS Desert Ship Fire Control Chief. “They get to see the technological advances we are working on to better the Navy and the defense of the country.”
He said he hoped the students learned that education is continuous during their career.
Jason Orwoll is one of the 14 high school juniors participating in the program. His current career options include being a paramedic or joining the Navy. He said the tour of the USS Desert Ship gave him an insight to what careers are possible within the Navy.
“(The tour) was interesting,” Orwoll said. “We got to see a diversity of everything.”