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US Army STEM Truck visits Portland metro high schools

The Army hopes to convince students to pursue military careers in fields like engineering, medicine and tech.

OREGON CITY, Ore. — The U.S. Army brought its STEM truck to Oregon City High School on Tuesday to teach students about possible careers within the military, one of seven local stops in Oregon and Southwest Washington. 

"The Army is just enormous," said Doug Thomas, a senior Army instructor. "They have a lot of medical specialties, high tech infrastructure like engineers. You do a lot of communicating, so communication systems and computer repair."

Recruiters said they wanted to break stereotypes about enlisting in the Army and want the teens to consider enlisting to pursue careers in medicine, engineering or technology. 

Melody Harbison, a junior at Oregon City High School in the ROTC program, participated at the recruiting event. She said she's learned a lot about different careers within the military through these recruiting events.

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"I really wanted to be a mental health specialist, which they do have programs for and I did not think they would," Harbison said.

While these events are all fun and games, a commitment to the Army comes with serious expectations, starting with about nine weeks of basic combat training. Then it's off to advanced individual training for a specific career path,  which can run from six weeks to a year. Those who sign up are looking at a three to six-year commitment. 

"Career fields that you can see in the civilian sector — the military also uses those to operate itself," said Thomas. 

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