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Nevada National Guard flies educators as a part of recruitment push

On Saturday afternoon, the Nevada National Guard took a group of local educators and community leaders on a helicopter tour as a part of a recruitment push.

After signing the flight manifest, getting a safety briefing, and snapping a photo, the group boarded a tandem-rotor heavy-lift CH-47 Chinook helicopter and took off for a tour of Lake Tahoe and Northern Nevada. The Chinook is one of the fastest helicopters in the world.

The flight was a part of a day-long presentation about the work of the Nevada Guard at its Harry Reid Readiness and Training Center near Reno Stead Airport.

The goal of the day was to recognize community leaders and give them insight into how the Nevada Guard works, said Col. John Krueger, chief of staff for the Nevada Army National Guard.

Speaking to attendees before the flight, Krueger shared that the Nevada Guard is hitting its recruitment goals, but that it wants to expand the number of women, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans in the force.

“The event today is to get all of the centers of influence in the community together and just really thank them for their continued support. And dispel any rumors they may have heard or answer any questions they might have,” he said. “At the end of the day, if they have a student, a youth in our community that comes up to them and asks them, ‘What do you think about the Nevada National Guard? Would you recommend I try that out?’ We want the answer to be yes.”

However, for McQueen High School earth science teacher Diane Menicucci, the flight was an opportunity to bring some additional learning to her students.

“I’m going to share with them the bird’s-eye view that I got,” she said. “I’m going to talk to them about what the Sierra looks like. We’ve talked a lot about the history of the Sierra, too. You can see it in the ground from the sky, even.”

Understanding the geology of the Sierra Nevada is key to her class. Menicucci’s students have also been learning about the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe. She wants them to value the unique landscapes around them.

“I am so lucky to live here. This is a beautiful place. It’s my hope to bring an appreciation of how special this place is to my students,” she said. 

Menicucci and the other passengers got clear views on the flight despite some prescribed burns around Lake Tahoe.

KUNR’s Maria Palma contributed to this story.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Jose Davila IV reports on K-12 education with a focus on Latino students and families in Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra. He is also a first-year Report for America corps member. Es bilingüe, su familia es de Puerto Rico, y ama los tostones de su padre más que nada.
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